Students’ interest in fashion results in national scholarships and career opportunities

Attending the 2014 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund dinner were (left to right) Danielle Schivek '11 (past YMA fashion scholarship recipient); Ari Tretin '12 (past scholarship recipient); Kiran Gill '15 (current scholarship recipient); David Katz, Brandeis ambassador and chief marketing officer, Randa Corporation; Ji Yun Lee '11 (past scholarship recipient); Paul Rosengard '80 YMA Chairman and CEO Boston Traders.

In what is becoming an annual tradition, two Brandeis students were awarded $5,000 scholarships from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund. This is the fourth consecutive year that Brandeis students have earned the national honor.

Shota Adamia ’15 and Kiran Gill ’15 were among the 131 scholarship recipients who were recognized at a dinner held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on Jan. 8. More than 1,000 senior fashion industry executives and dignitaries attended the dinner, which also served as a benefit for the YMA, raising $1.8 million to support its scholarship, mentoring and internship programs.

During the evening, Gill met with some of today’s leading fashion executives and attended a fashion career fair. (Adamia was not able to be at the event due to an overseas travel commitment.) Among those attending the dinner were Tamara Mellon, former chief executive officer of Jimmy Choo and founder of the Tamara Mellon brand, George Feldenkreis, CEO of Perry Ellis, and Lana Cain Krauter, former president of Sears Apparel, who were honored for their many professional achievements within the fashion industry. Linda Fargo, senior vice president of Bergdorf Goodman, served as the evening’s emcee.

“The best part of the evening was meeting like-minded students from around the country who share an interest in fashion as well as having the opportunity to meet with professionals in the fashion industry,” said Gill, who is an art history major. “Having this chance to network and make connections will allow me to help jump start my career.”

Adamia said he was interested in the scholarship opportunity because it provided him with a channel to pursue and advance his interest in fashion. “The most valuable memory from [receiving] the scholarship, I think, is yet to come,” said Adamia, an economics and sociology double major. “The most interesting part of the experience will be the summer internship.”

Brandeis’ participation in the scholar program was made possible by Paul Rosengard ’80, YMA chairman emeritus and CEO of Boston Traders.

“The conversion rate of Brandeis applicants to scholars consistently outpaces that of their peers from the fashion schools and the Ivy League, and the Brandeis students continued their pattern of excellence in the 2014 competition,” said Rosengard. “What is more impressive and, frankly, more important, is the success with which the former scholars have matriculated into our industry. Since this is the YMA’s fundamental mission, we are thrilled that so many of them are now gainfully employed and making a contribution to the future of our industry.”

Recognizing the importance of creating these connections to the fashion industry, Brandeis has made a commitment to helping students compete successfully for the YMA scholarships, including forming a fashion scholarship advisory board. Alice Kelikian, associate professor of history, is the board’s academic chair. The other board members are Jane Ebert, assistant professor of marketing; Tory Fair, associate professor of sculpture; Chandler Rosenberger, assistant professor of international and global studies and sociology; and Grace Zimmerman, senior lecturer in the Brandeis International Business School. Joseph Du Pont, dean of the Hiatt Career Center and Caroline O’Shea, assistant director of employer relations at the Hiatt, assisted the students in preparing their applications.

Since the 2010-11 academic year, 11 Brandeis students have earned scholarships, internships and career mentoring from prominent senior executives; five of the recipients, who have since graduated from Brandeis, now work in the fashion industry.

“The value of the YMA program extends far beyond its scholarship support,” said Kelikian. “The connections the students make with industry leaders through the internship and the mentoring programs are invaluable and have served as a unique launching pad for their careers in the fashion industry, from design, to marketing, to legal counsel. We are indebted to the support of Paul Rosengard and our ambassador David Katz.”

Students interested in applying must be a sophomore, junior, or first-semester senior with at least a 3.0 grade-point average who wish to pursue a career in design, merchandising, retailing, journalism, computer science or business. Brandeis is one of 46 educational institutions nationwide selected to participate in the competition. Other participating schools include the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Cornell University, New York University, and the University of Wisconsin.

In addition to providing scholarship support, the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund facilitates internships with prestigious fashion companies and provides career mentoring by prominent senior executives who serve on the FSF Board. Participating companies have included Calvin Klein, Li & Fung, VF Sportswear, Fishman & Tobin, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Perry Ellis, Bloomingdales, Levi Strauss & Co., Target, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, and Randa Accessories.

For further information on applying for the fashion scholarship, please contact Alan Bertman.

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