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Oklahoma State University

DHM students earn prestigious scholarships in national competition

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Design, housing and merchandising students and their mentors are pictured during the Fashion Scholarship Fund Gala. From left Sierra Winrow, Natalie Berg, Maureen Storch, FSF Ambassador, American Apparel & Footwear Association Senior Vice President, Membership, Lauren Walker, Jessica Hoover and Dianne Limbaugh, DHM clinical instructor.

In January 2017, four College of Human Sciences’ design, housing and merchandising students received the experience of a lifetime when they were chosen to each receive a $5,000 scholarship from the Fashion Scholarship Fund. Merchandising students Natalie Berg, junior, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Jessica Hoover, junior, Stillwater, Oklahoma; Lauren Walker, sophomore, Fort Smith, Arkansas; and apparel design and production senior Sierra Winrow, Oklahoma City, were honored with 225 other scholarship recipients at the Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The four are among 17 DHM students who have won 19 FSF scholarships in the past five years.

“For this scholarship we were required to complete a 10-page case study in two parts,” Hoover said. “I spent most of my time researching and developing ideas for my paper. Once I had a general idea of where I wanted to take my case study, I began to write.”

Hoover said she created a SWOT analysis, a launch plan, marketing campaign as well as a financial plan and much more.

“After countless drafts and meetings with professors, family, and friends about revisions I finally completed the 10 pages,” Hoover said. “Although I never felt like it was complete or perfect, the time came to submit our case studies.”

In addition to gaining knowledge, having the opportunity to mingle with major leaders in the fashion industry and learning from them was truly her greatest experience there.

Walker agrees there were countless memorable moments throughout the experience.

“The most memorable part of my experience in New York City was getting to tour the Kohl's Design Center,” Walker said. “I didn't really know what to expect from Kohl's before the tour, but I was really impressed. I loved how they were so receptive to all of our questions and how in-depth the tour was.”

“I learned so much about the fashion industry as a whole during this week, but what I really learned was that you have to be willing to put yourself out there,” Walker said. “I was surrounded by important people in the fashion industry during cocktail hour and gala. It was a very intimidating at first to be honest.”

Walker said although at first it was intimidating, the opportunity opened many doors for her.

“I never thought that working in New York City would ever be an option for me, but now it is,” she said. “This scholarship has given me the connections and ability to go for the fashion dream. I am excited to see where the scholarship takes me.”

Berg is excited to see where this scholarship takes her, as well.

“The week gave the scholars many beneficial outcomes to move forward in our career path with,” Berg said. “Aside from the networking opportunities it grants each student, we each gain a mentor to help us further our connections in the industry.”

Based on her experience in New York City, Berg aspires to receive an internship there or in California.

“I know the connections I have made through winning this scholarship can benefit me greatly moving through my career,” she said. “Eventually I hope to work in wholesales for a major corporation or own a boutique with women's wear and accessories.”

Winrow said this opportunity inspired her to create her own line of jewelry in the future.

“I wanted to create a line of fine jewelry at a contemporary price point for the working millennial that could be worn to the office and then after,” Winrow said. “With the doors this scholarship opens, it could one day be possible.”

“I got to network with companies I have been looking into working for,” she said. “I can now start my career confidently with a large network to have in the fashion industry.”

The Fashion Scholarship Fund is celebrating 80 years of support to young people interested in fashion industry careers. The 2017 Fashion Scholarship Fund awarded a record $1.3 million in scholarships. The FSF is a national non-profit association consisting of influential members of the fashion community committed to recruiting, nurturing and cultivating the best students from its member schools, so they can become the next generation of leaders in the fashion industry.