Students awarded scholarships for their innovation in the fashion industry

Developing compelling case studies led to big rewards for 10 students in the Department of Design and Merchandising. Months of hard work paid off as the students received highly competitive scholarships from the Fashion Scholarship Fund. The winning students were invited to attend an all-expenses paid awards dinner in New York City accompanied by multiple networking events.

This is the second year that Colorado State University has been invited to have students apply for the FSF scholarship. This year, more than half of the applicants at CSU earned a scholarship and those who didn’t receive the scholarship received incredibly high scores.

Students in New York City Time Square
CSU scholarship winners in Times Square. Photo from Arran Senn.

“These students made us so proud and they represented CSU so well,” Department Head Nancy Miller said. “They are excellent examples of the talent in our program.”

Fashion Scholarship Fund

The FSF has been around for about 80 years with the goal of seeking out talented, young professionals who are looking to join the fashion industry after graduation. This fund also stresses the importance of networking by pairing winners of FSF with a mentor within the industry for career advice and support.

Students take months out of the year to develop, build, and refine an elaborate case study with a focus in either Design and Product Development or Merchandising and Marketing.

“FSF advances the students’ level of confidence within the industry and gives them an amazing opportunity to be mentored by high-level industry professionals,” Apparel and Merchandising Internship Coordinator and Instructor Carol Engel-Enright said. “For a student to be able to write, research, and develop a solution with that amount of detail and then to receive a reward from a high-level executive is truly amazing.”

This industry-supported fund allows students to rise a notch above other individuals and interact with influential members within the fashion industry. It gives students a glimpse of what they can achieve.

“This is a very significant award. These students should be very proud of their hard work and I’m excited for the networking and alumni connections that come out of this,” Engel-Enright said.

Hard work paying off

This case study takes an extensive amount of time and innovation, but the Design and Merchandising faculty made sure they provided the students with as many resources and advice as possible. Students had the opportunity to focus their case study to cater their interests.

Apparel and merchandising student Arran Senn explained, “I started doing preliminary research for the scholarship in the summer and narrowed down which retailers I wanted to focus on. I also started thinking of the technological aspect and bounced around ideas with my dad for new products and services that aren’t currently in the market.”

“I pieced together a ten-page case study on how I could merge digital technology into retail stores to increase foot traffic and sales,” said Mackenzie Brigham, apparel and merchandising student. “You have to give yourself plenty of preparation time because you may completely start over a month before the scholarship due date like I did.”

students at their awards dinner table
CSU scholarship winners at the awards dinner in New York City. Photo from Mackenzie Brigham.

After spending months and many hours on developing their case studies, the students submitted them for anonymous review from individuals in the industry. Of the 19 CSU students who applied, ten received scholarships, third most of all the colleges in the competition. Scholarships amounts ranged from $5,000 to $7,500.

This year’s winners include:

Arran Senn                              Design and Product Development

Mackenzie Brigham                Merchandising and Marketing

Megan Lloyd                           Design and Product Development

Lauren Bruce-Lund                  Design and Product Development

Natalie Schluter                      Design and Product Development

Emily Short                              Merchandising and Marketing

Michaela Coleman                  Design and Product Development

Michaela Knollmann               Merchandising and Marketing

Kendra Lyons                          Design and Product Development

Nicole Pink                              Design and Product Development

 “It was not only a great honor to receive the scholarship, but also to know that industry executives and board members who read my report acknowledged what I was doing,” apparel and merchandising student Megan Lloyd said.

The winners were invited to an all-expenses paid trip to New York City from January 8-10.

Jessica Simpson at Fashion Scholarship Fund eventNetworking in New York

The New York trip offered the students many networking opportunities and a chance to be honored for all the hard work they put into their case studies.

Students described the experience in New York as high energy and eye-opening. There were 27 companies at the event looking for students interested in internships and jobs. Students were given time to talk with these companies and to distribute their resumes.

“Every scholarship recipient there was so friendly and passionate about their case study. It was a crazy feeling being in the same room as some of the top designers, CEOs, and creative minds in the industry,” Brigham said.

At the formal dinner event with more than 2,400 attendees, students heard from individuals from major companies like Macy’s, Lily Pulitzer, and Adidas. Speakers included award recipients such as “Fashion Innovator of the Year” Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and CEO of Birchbox.CSU scholarship winners posing for group photo

“The most exciting part of the New York trip had to be seeing the vast array of talent. There were so many different companies and platforms that I went from talking with the CEO of a women’s wear company to talking with fiber engineers,” Senn said.

“Through this experience, I learned that I need to always network and hold on to my connections,” Lloyd said. “This scholarship fund gives you endless opportunities and I plan on taking advantage of all of them to work towards my dream of getting a job in the product development field.”

Materials have been distributed to majors for this year’s competition in the apparel and merchandising program. Students interested in applying for scholarships through FSF should work with an AM faculty member as soon as possible to begin the case study work and to set up meetings for developing their ideas. Applications are due October 1, 2018.

Whether students have won a scholarship or not, students are eligible to submit each year they are attending CSU. Some of the students have already won twice and are submitting again this year.

“The fact that our students do so well in such a competitive environment is amazing. We hope it will inspire other students to take a risk and apply,” Miller said.

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