Three students win national fashion scholarships
Prestigious selection comes in first year of Brandeis' participationThree Brandeis students won prestigious scholarships from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, a remarkable achievement in the university's first year participating in the highly competitive nationwide program.
Ji Yun Lee '11, Abigail Katznelson '11, M.A. '12 and Danielle Schivek '11 will be recognized at the annual FSF Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner on Jan. 11 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Along with the scholarship recipients, honorees include Emmanuel “Manny” Chirico, chairman and CEO of Phillips-Van Heusen, and Jeff Kantor, president of merchandising at Macys.com.
Lee has always being interested in pursuing a career in the industry, which combines her passion for fashion and her attraction to the business end of the operation (she's studying economics and international and global studies).
“I am truly honored to have won the scholarship, but beyond just earning the money, the journey has been a great learning experience,” Lee said. “Doing the case study [required in the application process] was great practice, especially since my senior thesis is related to the global fashion industry.”
Last summer, she worked in the men's fashion office at Saks Fifth Avenue's corporate office in New York. She had earlier internships with W magazine in Seoul and Vogue in Beijing.
As part of her application, Katznelson prepared a case study on developing a line of women's compression apparel designed to strengthen and tone muscles during regular activity. The clothes would feature compression strips targeted at the most active muscles (stomach, arms, and legs).
“I am very excited to win the scholarship,” said Katznelson, who is pursuing a joint B.A.-M.A. in international economics. “Completing the case study -- with the help of Professor (Detlev) Suderow -- provided me real insight into what it would take to build my own brand.”
Schivek had considered becoming a fashion journalist, but she is now pursuing a career in fashion law. She spent last summer working as a public relations intern with Tod's, an Italian firm that produces high-end shoes and other leather goods. Schivek plans to attend law school after graduation.
“I am interested in serving as an advocate for fashion legislation and intellectual property law in the fashion industry,” she said. “I can combine my interest in the law and fashion.”
Paul Rosengard '80, head of menswear for Li & Fung USA and chairman of YMA FSF, helped get his alma mater involved with the program.
"As a proud alumnus, it is gratifying to me that three Brandeis students were selected as recipients the first year in which the university participated in this prestigious scholarship program," Rosengard said. "This three-for-three first-year sweep has never happened before and is a testament to the strength of these outstanding candidates, each one richly deserving of this recognition.
“Our mission is to facilitate the entry of talented students into our industry; I look forward to Brandeis' continued involvement with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund and to these three students being the first of many to enter our industry."
The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) program provides access to merit-based scholarships, summer internships and career mentoring to talented students with a demonstrated intent to enter any fashion apparel or retail related industry. Participating schools include Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Virginia, Parsons, and about two dozen other leading institutions.
"The fact that three Brandeis students received these highly sought-after scholarships speaks well both of the quality of our students and the caliber of a Brandeis education,” said Elaine Wong, senior associate dean of arts and sciences for undergraduate education. “The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund is a wonderful opportunity for Brandeis students considering careers in the fashion industry to receive scholarship support, obtain real-world experience and be mentored by prominent executives."
Joseph Du Pont, dean of the Hiatt Career Center, which coordinated scholarship applications, said winning an FSF scholarship can open the door to a career in business or fashion; he encouraged more Brandeis students to apply.
Faculty members Maura Jane Farrelly, Alice Kelikian, Grace Zimmerman, and Suderow '70, P '05 advised interested applicants.
The FSF scholarship is open to sophomores, juniors, and first-semester seniors with at least a 3.0 grade-point average. Applicants complete a case study and are interviewed by a member of FSF. Since its inception in 1971, FSF has awarded over $6.5 million in scholarships to more than 800 students nationwide.
FSF awards between 70 and 100 $5,000 scholarships each year and also administers the Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship, which hands out four $25,000 scholarships annually.
In addition to the scholarships, FSF facilitates internships with prestigious fashion companies and provides career mentoring through prominent senior executives who serve on the FSF board. Participating companies include Calvin Klein, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Fendi, Liz Claiborne, Chloe, Macy's, Perry Ellis, Bloomingdale's, Levi Strauss & Co., Target, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, LVMH, Sephora, PVH and Tommy Hilfiger.
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