Design and Merchandising grad to lead Fashion FUNdamentals summer program for middle schoolers

Fashion FUNdamentalsThree girls wearing safety glasses is a beloved program that has been offered at Colorado State University in the Department of Design and Merchandising since 2015. The two-week summer program is designed to enhance young people’s interests and self-esteem in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Due to 2020 safety protocols, the department was unable to host its annual program last summer. This summer however, the department received approval and enrollment is already full! In addition to being able to host the program, the department hired a 2015 graduate of the Design and Merchandising program, Sara Dudek, as the program manager.

Passion for Fashion FUNdamentals

Sara DudekDudek has a long history with the department not only as a graduate of the program, but also as a part of the team that realized the very first summer of Fashion FUNdamentals. “I’m looking forward to a program that gets students creating, collaborating and excited to learn again!”

Dudek speaks passionately about the program and the benefits for the community as a part of CSU’s engagement effort. “FF is so important because middle school is hard!” she said. “it’s such a period of growth for young people as their schoolwork becomes more challenging. FF teaches STEM through something that feels creative and approachable: fashion.”

Overcoming pandemic challenges

Girls looking at historic dressesTo ensure health and safety, Dudek has worked through various obstacles to ensure this program was able to be realized this summer. The FF team has had to rework some of the beloved activities that are usually offered during the program such as a day at the CSU Recreation Center which will now be balanced by more activities outside.

Fortunately, Dudek’s team has worked with several positive and enthusiastic collaborators who have helped problem solve and shown tremendous flexibility to ensure a positive experience for the participants. Fantastic courses from years past such as digital textile design, sewing, pricing and costing, merchandise planning, textile science, textile history, and so much more will still be offered as a part of the program.

Though the enrollment cap is smaller than in years past to ensure participants stay healthy, there has been overwhelming response to enroll for the program this summer. “It is inspiring to see how much excitement this program generates!” expressed Dudek.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.