PhilaU Fashion Students Win Prestigious $5,000 YMA Scholarships

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YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund winners, from left to right, Courtney Hunter, Victoria Pion and Dana Jackson attend the awards dinner in New York.

PhilaU fashion design students Victoria Pion and Dana Jackson and fashion merchandising and management student Courtney Hunter have been awarded $5,000 scholarships from the prestigious YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund.

The awards were announced at the YMA’s FSF Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards dinner in New York on Jan. 8, an event attended by designers, fashion industry leaders, college and university officials and members of the fashion press.

“Winning the scholarship was an indescribable feeling,” said sophomore Courtney Hunter. “I actually cried when I found out. It was surreal to know that all my hard work had paid off.”

As part of the scholarship program, student winners also will be placed in fashion industry internships for this summer.

To apply for the scholarship, students were asked to develop case studies involving business and marketing strategies to get the millennial customer interested in J.C. Penney Co. merchandise.

“My project centered on fresh design and new, young guest designers—with a huge focus on philanthropic, ethical and eco-friendly design,” junior Victoria Pion said.

The three PhilaU award winners stayed overnight at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where the event was held, and attended a career fair the following day, where students learned about career opportunities and submitted their resumes for the internship placements.

Senior Dana Jackson called the event an exhilarating experience. “We were given the opportunity to introduce ourselves to industry professionals, network and make connections with potential employers,” she said.

Ron Kander, executive dean of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, who accompanied the students to the event, said he was proud of their accomplishments and how well they represented Philadelphia University.

“In addition to the scholarship awards, they get an assigned industry mentor for the year and a paid summer internship in New York City, this summer,” Kander said. “These three will now be eligible for the larger $30,000 and $10,000 Geoffrey Beene scholarships next year.”

The YMA association, made up of fashion industry leaders, promotes education of the fashion arts and business through scholarships to talented students, internships, mentorships and career programs. This year, 131 students from 41 colleges and universities received YMA scholarships. In addition to Philadelphia University, other YMA member institutions include the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Cornell, Rhode Island School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology.

In addition to the student winners, several fashion industry leaders received awards at the event. George Feldenkreis, chairman and CEO of Perry Ellis International, received the YMA Lifetime Achievement Award. Other honorees included Linda Fargo, senior vice president of Bergdorf Goodman, and Tamara Mellon, CEO of Jimmy Choo.

YMA honoree Lana Cain Krauter, former president of apparel at Sears Holdings Corp., said, “YMA is at the forefront of the fashion industry and is focused on building the next generation of leaders in the fashion industry through the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund.”

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