Meet Keiara Windom, Avanade STEM scholar turned employee
- Posted on November 17, 2021
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
“It’s the people you meet along the way that help you get to where you want to be.”
I’m the youngest of four children, a first-generation college student, STEM scholar and soon to be Avanade employee. I love spending time with family and friends, love to help others, and want to make the world a better place by creating a positive impact.
So why Avanade? There are so many reasons! But the three main things are the people I met during my internship, the opportunity for growth and the value Avanade places on its people. I will be joining Avanade as a business analyst, and I’m excited about how much I will learn, curious about how my background will influence how I approach solving client problems and the soft skills I’ll learn, which are so important for consulting.
Meanwhile, I’m completing my studies in mathematics at the University of Washington. I have always loved math. I wanted to study something that interested me, challenged me, and would open doors for me. And since math is involved in everything we do and so useful, I wanted to learn as much as I could about it. I also love details and figuring out solutions, so the analytical part of mathematics really drew me in.
I heard about the Avanade STEM scholarship through my academic advisor. When she met me and heard a little bit about my journey, she could tell I was a dedicated student, understood the type of support I needed and encouraged me to apply.
I felt incredibly happy, relieved, and extremely proud of myself when I heard I’d won the scholarship. It was like people were noticing what I wanted to achieve and wanted to help me. I felt seen and I felt valued. And because it was a scholarship for women in STEM, it made me feel like I was in the right place, on the right path and that I was going to be supported by other amazing women.
In fact, the scholarship was a turning point for me. As the first to go to college in my family, I never had an example to follow and lacked the necessary guidance. I was navigating new and tough waters by myself and I started to feel lost and overwhelmed.
The Avanade scholarship provided me with an amazing mentor, to help guide me, an internship to gain real career experience, networking opportunities that really pushed me out of my comfort zone and many learning opportunities. It also gave me the financial stability to focus solely on my studies and to emerge out of a tough, unstable life as a successful and strong woman.
Really, it was all about the mentorship. Meeting my mentor, Woody, was the moment that changed my life. She cheered me on and reminded me to celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small. She used her network to showcase my achievements and give me extra love and support. We set up biweekly calls, did resumé reviews, looked for opportunities together, and she was there for me whenever I needed her. She is truly the best example of a mentor I could have asked for and is someone I look up to, not only for her career success but for being a passionate and genuine woman in STEM advocate.
The mentorship aspect of the scholarship really proved to me that Avanade genuinely believes in building a supportive network. They didn’t just give me money and hope I would do something great with it. They really took the time to set up a great scholarship program. And having the advice and support of my mentor completely transformed my confidence. It also made me realize the importance of paving the way for people in similar situations and the impact one can have on others.
“Keiara is an amazing young woman who has overcome so much, and her perseverance is an inspiration to me,” shared Woody Walker, Keira’s mentor. “She is highly intelligent, capable, strong, and passionate about STEM. I am fortunate to have had a chance to get to know her. We are so lucky to have her at Avanade, she is going to make a huge impact on our clients and our organization.”