Since 1995, the United States has recognized every March as Women’s History Month. During this month we celebrate the contributions and achievements that women, both past and present, have made over the course of American history, culture and community. To celebrate Women’s History Month, Columbia Southern University is honored to recognize students, alumnae and faculty who are playing a vital role in leadership within their respective industries.
Aimie Windemiller is a mother, chief warrant officer two of the U.S. Navy and, most recently, a CSU graduate. Having always been interested in the world of information technology, it was her military career that sparked her interest in earning a degree in information technology.
“I enlisted in 2002 in the Navy as an information technician,” she said. “Twenty years later, I am now a commissioned chief warrant officer in the same field. In 20 years, the field has changed significantly. In the beginning, learning computers is what interested me, but as time goes by, new technology is introduced, and our capabilities grow.”
One of Aimie’s biggest accomplishments in her career in the Navy was crossing over from enlisted to officer, an achievement made by few.
“Going from enlisted to officer and serving in the military is not an easy task,” she said. “Having a serving heart and mindset are a piece that’s missing in some aspects of what being in the military means. “Somedays are hard, really hard, but through the hard days you find the wins. Wins come in different ways, through the sailors you lead, personal qualifications, advancements to the next rank and mission accomplishments.”
In her leadership role, Aimie says her favorite part is being a part of the next generation that will follow behind her and seeing their growth.
“The most rewarding part is teaching sailors and leading them to one day replace me,” she said. “Mentorship is a staple for the Navy. Watching the development, skill and strength that they find, watching the smiles when hard work pays off and when they hear their name called for advancement or for special accomplishments.”
As one of few women in her profession, Aimie utilizes her leadership role to be an example to those who may want to fill her shoes someday.
“Women today make up about 22% of the military,” she said. “When I first enlisted, I just focused on the women I saw, and made the decision that I wanted to be like them. In an environment that needs sailors and leaders to be more and take on more, that’s simply what I did. With every task, I just tried my best. Women empowerment is important to help bring up the next generation of women believing in themselves, not knowing a difference and understanding that they are beautiful and can achieve anything they want.”
From becoming an officer to earning her degree, Aimie continues to be an example of what the outcome of hard work and perseverance looks like.
“While learning to manage three children as a single mom, becoming a Naval Officer and being stationed on sea duty, knowing that I also completed my degree this time is nothing short of a miracle,” she said. “It shows strength where most may have given up. I have found myself again and my drive toward who I always wanted to become.”