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Meet Gatech's Engineering Student Kiandra Peart Creator of KustomsbyKi

Caribbean Heritage Month

June 2022

By: SemegaChange

Innovative is not the word to describe Kiandra Peart who was a Gold Medalist of NAACP's National ACT-SO with a $50,000 investment for her own shoe customizing brand KustomsByKi , top 20 for Finalist at the global Breakthrough Junior Challenge and even had her own TedTalk!

Specializing in custom footwear where she offers her services at her own company KustomsByKi, Ki is a Jamaican- American who was born in Brooklyn, NY, studying mechanical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the top universities in the nation! Alongside her company she also invests her time on her startup SLATE that aims to eliminate the need for recycling paper.

Customizing shoes since 2017, Ki expressed to SemegaChange that she's always been an artist and had a love for sneakers. Starting out as just a hobby, when Ki began posting her designs, it received lots of positive feedback from her friends and family.

People began telling her all the time they would pay for her designs and work. As a result, Ki decided to act on it and began selling her custom sneakers and artwork.

When asked what being a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a Caribbean woman in STEM meant to her she states it means she would be able to create her own future in the STEM field of her own choice. While simultaneously being able to express her culture and put all the things that make her who she is into her work and hobbies. ​Ki expresses that she loves her heritage and identity and all the things about her that make up her life and experiences.

What she loves most about her heritage is the culture and the love and support from her community. She emphasizes that the food is probably one of her favorite parts about being Jamaican. As well as learning from her older family members who are from outside the US and have different perspectives on life and share that authentic wisdom with her.

Ki shares advice to other Caribbean women pursing STEM:

"Keep going, it can get awkward at times being the only person who looks like you in the room but that just makes it that much more impressive."

Ki aspires to start a tech company of her own someday.

"I'm working on a business plan now, so hopefully you'll hear about me and my company in early 2023", she shared with SemegaChange.

SemegaChange is so eager to see Ki's dreams come to fruition as she tackles all the challenges that might come with being a woman of color in STEM as well as being a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Her many accomplishments so far as an award winner and involvement in top tech companies are just the beginning of Ki's journey to success.

Gatech has an inspiring student at their hands and we cannot wait to see the amazing alum she will become as she finishes up her mechanical engineering degree!

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