Kenitra Williams,T-Mobile Software Development Manager has been named Ashford University's Outstanding Alum of the Month for January 2018. The Ashford University Outstanding Alum of the Month recognition highlights Ashford success stories and graduates who have used their Ashford education as a springboard to personal and professional achievement.
When Kenitra Williams first heard about Ashford University during a T-Mobile benefits fair, it had been nearly two decades since she had been in school. That 19-year break would prove to be both her biggest obstacle and her greatest motivation when she decided to return to school to pursue her master's degree.
“I will tell you that I was a little apprehensive at first because my undergraduate degree was obtained in 1996, and this was 2015,” Kenitra says.
Kenitra gathered information at the benefits fair and called Ashford to find out more. Her Enrollment Advisor addressed some of Kenitra's apprehension by explaining how the learning experience at Ashford differed from the college experience Kenitra remembered.
"She talked me through a different perspective of how to look at what I thought were challenges, and she shared with me tools that would be available to me to even circumvent some of those issues," Kenitra says. "The library resources, the 24/7 chat support when you have questions in the middle of the night: the tools are there."
Feeling assured that she'd receive support at Ashford, Kenitra knew it was time to update her skills and expand her knowledge. "I looked at [my bachelor's degree] and said, 'Your undergraduate degree is old - maybe you should get a new one.'" She enrolled in the Master of Arts in Organizational Management program at the Forbes School of Business & Technology™.
“My undergraduate degree…was actually in information technology, which is still the field that I work in, but I was interested in moving into management within T-Mobile, and I felt this was a good match and a good opportunity for me,” Kenitra explains.
Another contributing factor in Kenitra’s decision to pursue her master’s degree at Ashford was the fact that T-Mobile’s tuition assistance benefits combine with a grant from Ashford to cover the costs of earning a degree.
"I believe T-Mobile really cares about their employees and they want us to be the best we can be. It's the main reason, I believe, they have done this partnership with Ashford," Kenitra says. "You have a great support system at the company: your managers, your other team members who are probably right there with you."
Kenitra also had a great support system at home and at Ashford, which proved invaluable as she squeezed her classes into an already packed schedule. Not only does Kenitra work full-time, she is a wife, mother of three, and the director of a non-profit.
"It was a lot to juggle, but I had the ability to log on when I had the time or I would deny myself some of the things I wanted to do on the weekend to get schoolwork done," Kenitra says. "But it was so worth it. And the support system of family and friends - and especially those coworkers who were walking this walk with me - it was very supportive."