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Natalie Nixon, director of PhilaU’s Strategic Design MBA program, discussed how design thinking adds value across a range of industries, including education and health care, and the power of ideation in fostering innovative ideas, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported April 28.
Senior Madison Chamberlain won best of show for her embroidered Victorian duster coach in collaboration with graduate textile design student Becky Flax.
With inspirations ranging from struggling artists in the 19th century, to the juxtaposition of war and peace, to ancient Mayan culture, the works of 127 student designers dazzled the runway April 27 for Philadelphia University’s annual Fashion Show at the Moulin at Sherman Mills.
“This is the biggest night of the year for our fashion design students,” Sheila Connelly, director of the fashion design program, told the energetic crowd of 1,100 people.
The sold-out show, produced by PhilaU’s Fashion Industries Association and its president, senior fashion merchandising and management student, Brigid Corcoran ’17, featured a record 420-plus head-to-toe collaborations among fashion design, textile design, graphic design and industrial design students. “The richness added to our collections by incorporating custom textile designs is something uniquely and proudly a Philadelphia University signature learning experience,” Connelly said.
Maria Balestino won best senior collection with textile designers Jessica Newman, Rachel Snack and Louise Sandstroem.
PhilaU President Stephen Spinelli Jr. said the University’s approach to learning, faculty expertise and success of its students have led the highly regarded Business of Fashion to name PhilaU among the top fashion programs globally.
“Tonight, you will see the ambition, the potential for making a better world through our human-centered, design thinking focus,” he said. “That process requires acute thinking and skills and a deep sense of empathy.”
Fashion celebrity Carson Kressley H’13, honorary chair and PhilaU trustee, called the students inspiring, especially since they participate in the entire process of creating a collection, from designing the prints, to making the fabrics, to even producing the show.
“They’re really getting a fantastic education in the entire world of fashion, which is so broad,” he said to PhilaU faculty, staff, trustees and students, plus representatives from Thomas Jefferson University, employers, media, area fashionistas and proud family and friends in attendance.
Over the course of two hours, the wowed audience saw a wide variety of women’s, men’s and children’s looks, with NBC10’s Bill Henley serving as emcee and NBC10’s Katy Zachry providing commentary for the stunning pieces.
Maria Balestino received the Fashion Industries Association Award for Best Senior Collection with “Weathered Nomad.” (See full award list below.) This group blended together geometric Berber tile motifs and jewelry with the sleek clean lines of the region’s modern architecture. It combined the traditional with the contemporary and brings handcrafted details into the 21st century. This collection was a collaboration with textile design graduate student Rachel Snack, senior textile materials technology student Jessica Newman and senior industrial design student Louise Sandstroem.
Jonathan Cantu won Excellence in Eveningwear for this collection in collaboration with textile design student Alyssa Yanni.
The Fashion Industries Association Award for Best in Show went to senior Madison Chamberlain’s “Parisian Boheme” collection. Inspired by a group of eccentric struggling artists in the late 19th century, this collection of luxurious silhouettes and colors tells the story of their eclectic lifestyles and the artwork they created. This collection was a collaboration with graduate textile design student Becky Flax.
Senior Micah Ohno earned the Mike Ternosky Obey Award for Most Creative Collection. “Art Medicine” celebrates the work of outsider artists Yayoi Kusama and Luis Wain who create artwork as an outlet for their mental illness by using vibrant, psychedelic color, print and texture. This collection was a collaboration with graduate textile design students Becky Flax and Zarinah Nuri, graduate industrial design student Valerie Gibbins, graduate surface imaging student Saeidah Galani and junior textile design student Erin Cartwright.
The Victorian’s love of opulent silk fabrics and the honeybee provided inspiration to senior Jonathan Cantu’s eveningwear collection that used embroidery, velvet and other luxe details. A collaboration with senior textile design student Alyssa Yanni, “The Era of Velvet” received the Award for Excellence in an Eveningwear or Bridal Collection and was funded by the Eileen Martinson ’86 Fund for the Undergraduate Capstone Experience.
The PhilaU Fashion Show also honored two prestigious members of the fashion community. Wendy West Santana ’83, executive vice president for Li & Fung USA/Oxford Collections, received the Inaugural Alumni Award for Leadership in the Fashion Industry. Earning her degree in apparel management, Santana was instrumental in launching the designer collaboration business model for Target, and since then, she has worked with more than 50 designers on their limited partnership collections, including Zac Posen, Jason Wu and, most recently, Victoria Beckham.
Vivian Cooper’s collection with textile design students Becky Flax and Madeline Halsey won the Destination Maternity Award.
“This is by far the most exciting time to be part of this industry,” Santana said. “With all the advances in technology and changes in the retail landscape, I know one of you will change design as we know it today.”
The Philadelphia University Spirit of Design Award, a distinction given to an individual who has had significant influence on design and design education, went to Daniela Kamiliotis, an internationally acclaimed designer and mixed media artist. As senior vice president of design for women’s collection at Ralph Lauren for the last two decades, she has applied her distinctive sense of art and design and has been a force of inspiration to one of America’s iconic designers. Past award winners included Tommy Hilfiger, Geoffrey Beane, Francisco Costa, Mary McFadden, Jay McCarroll, Nicole Miller, Mike Ternosky of Obey and John Varvatos.
“Making that dream a tangible, three-dimension reality is possible, if you only persevere in your passion and beliefs,” Kamiliotis urged the designers. “I guarantee if you follow your passion, the end result will be well worth it.”
Student winners at the 2017 Annual Fashion Show included:
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE
In an Eveningwear or Bridal Collection: Jonathan Cantu
CARSON KRESSLEY AWARD
Most Ready for Retail: Julia Pogue
COATES BROTHERS CLOTHING AWARD
Excellence in Workmanship and Quality/Senior Collection: Maria Balestino
COLLECTION XIIX AWARD
Collaborative Textile Design for Womenswear: Tae’lor Lambert, Becky Flax and Soumya Mohanty
DESTINATION MATERNITY AWARD
Design Excellence in a Sportswear Collection: Vivian Cooper
Daniela Kamiliotis, SVP of design for women’s collection at Ralph Lauren, received the Philadelphia University Spirit of Design Award.
DESIGN EXCELLENCE AWARD
In Performance Apparel: Ashlee Bowers
FASHION DESIGN FACULTY AWARD
Excellence in Design: Arleny Corona
FASHION INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION AWARDS
Best of Show: Madison Chamberlain
Best Senior Collection: Maria Balestino
Best Senior Collection–Honorable Mention: Madison Chamberlain
JOAN CALABRESE AWARD
Excellence in Childrenswear: Vanessa Fath
MIKE TERNOSKY OBEY AWARD
For Most Creative Collection: Micah Ohno
N.A.M.S.B. FOUNDATION AWARD INC.
Joseph Klein Award for Excellence in Menswear Design: Huyen Doan
NEXUS LEARNING AWARD
A Collaborative Design Initiative: Maria Leigh Palantino and Regan Marriner
NICHOLAS LOUIS PALUMBO AWARD
Outstanding Design by a Junior Fashion Design Student: Keren Espina
SCHOOL OF DESIGN AND ENGINEERING AWARD
Outstanding Senior Design Student: Amie Dews
THE WOOLMARK COMPANY AWARD
For Student Innovation: Maria Leigh Palantino and Regan Marriner
UNITED FABRICS AWARD
Original Jacquard Textile Design: Oluwabusola Duroshola
PhilaU received the following sponsorships for the Fashion Show:
STUDENT TICKET SPONSORS
Felicia Baylor Parrott
Collection XIIX, Drew Pizzo
Fashion Design Faculty
Fashion Industries Association
N.A.M.S.B. Foundation Inc.
The Woolmark Company, Angela Domsitz
United Fabrics, Scott Warwick
Letrell Crittenden is a journalist, media scholar and educator.
Letrell Deshan Crittenden, Ph.D., has been named director of Philadelphia University’s B.S. in Communication program, effective Aug. 14, 2017.
Crittenden is a journalist, media scholar and educator who currently serves as assistant professor at Robert Morris University. His professional communications experience includes teaching at LaSalle and Lincoln universities, serving as a research assistant at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and working as a reporter for the Observer-Dispatch in New York and Centre Daily Times in Pennsylvania.
Crittenden’s research interests include diversity, inclusion and empowerment in mainstream media, race and media, community and advocacy journalism, and media literacy.
He’s addressed issues relating to youth journalism, race and news coverage, and the highly publicized Trayvon Martin case for publications and at conferences, including Union for Democratic Publication, National Council for Black Studies and Urban Affairs Association.
“We are pleased that Dr. Crittenden will be leading our B.S. in Communication Program,” said Michael Dryer, executive dean of PhilaU’s School of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts. “His outstanding academic preparation coupled with his experience in journalism across different types of media makes him the ideal person to advance the communication program and create greater opportunities for our students in a rapidly evolving profession.”
Crittenden earned his Ph.D. in communications from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and his M.A. in media studies and B.A. in journalism from Penn State University.
“I am excited to take this position at Philadelphia University, because I strongly believe in Nexus Learning,” Crittenden said. “PhilaU gets it. Anyone entering the field of communications needs a firm understanding of critical thinking found in the liberal arts and a strong grasp of professional and technical skills utilized by media professionals today. Most importantly, I strongly believe these skills are best learned by directly engaging students in work geared toward problem solving and projects that benefit customers outside of the university setting.”
PhilaU’s communication program offers a dynamic multidisciplinary education emphasizing critical thinking, creative problem solving and a methodology where narrative creation and strategic planning are at the nexus of media in a multitude of forms.
Jade Papa, curator of Philadelphia University’s textile and costume collection, discussed First Lady Melania Trump’s first 100 days in fashion and politics in an April 26 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Delta Sigma Mu, the Philadelphia University chapter of the national counseling honor society Chi Sigma Iota, will hold its inaugural induction ceremony on Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m. in the Kanbar Performance Space. Delta Sigma Mu will be inducting 41 graduate students from the community and trauma counseling (CTC) program. To be eligible for induction, students must be able to demonstrate the traits, dispositions and characteristics of professional counselors, as well as maintain a 3.5 GPA.
Delta Sigma Mu was named in honor of PhilaU associate professor Dale Michaels, who was instrumental in the foundation of the CTC program, said Astra Czerny, assistant professor and faculty advisor for Delta Sigma Mu. Michaels will be the guest speaker at the induction ceremony.
In addition to the induction of the students, two scholarship awards and a faculty appreciation award will be presented at the ceremony—the Daniel Gerstein Memorial Award, the Delta Sigma Mu Emerging Professional Award and the Delta Sigma Mu Faculty Appreciation Award.
“To have an inaugural induction with so many students being initiated is very exciting for us,” Czerny said. “The students have worked hard to earn this honor and establish the Delta Sigma Mu chapter. It has been an honor to be a part of this special endeavor.”
For the sixth year in a row, GDUSA magazine has named Philadelphia University a top graphic design school. In addition, the publication recognized graphic design communication seniors Kelli Seiple and Lauren King as Students to Watch.
“It’s gratifying to know that the stellar work of our students and faculty are being consistently noticed by our professional community,” said Maribeth Kradel-Weitzel, interim program director of the graphic design communication program.
GDUSA said PhilaU excels “in preparing students to work successfully and effectively in a professional graphic design setting.”
And, having found personal and professional growth through their programs, this year’s Students to Watch are “ready to burst” onto the design scene, the magazine said.
“Design education is more important than ever as the lines between studio and classroom, office and academy, university and society continue to blur,” GDUSA said. “Designers play an increasingly influential role in shaping commerce and culture.”
The influential GDUSA list of top programs is based on a mix of objective and subjective factors, including the publication’s relationships with designers, students, recruiters and educators.
In a longstanding tradition at Philadelphia University, dozens of occupational therapy and industrial design students took part in the Assistive Tech Collaboration presentation in the Kanbar Performance Space on April 21, showcasing their innovative designs to help clients with special needs.
“Nexus Learning is all about collaborative and real-life experiences,” said Monique Chabot, assistant professor in the M.S. in occupational therapy program. “This project embodies these values.”
The semester-long project requires high levels of communication and teamwork, which helps the students develop these skills while also defining their own roles and professional identities, she said. “In addition, the students from both groups find great value in having a real person to design for, who can test the devices and provide feedback. It increases the level of investment in the project for sure.”
Occupational therapy student Pooja Joshi and industrial design student Max Munao worked with 13-year-old Anna. She was born with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A, a condition that affects her peripheral nerves and causes weakness in her hands. As a result, she has difficulties with some basic tasks, including tying her hair into a ponytail. They created a device that allows her to use her stronger torso and biceps to put her hair back.
“After completing this project, I have gained perspective on how something so small, like tying my hair into a ponytail, could mean so much to someone else,” Joshi said. “This project really helped me solidify an OT’s role and how important OTs really are.”
Munao described the experience of working with Anna as “powerful.” “Her input gave me validation of my concept,” he said.
Industrial design student Michael Grosso and occupational therapy student Laura Cannon created the assistive device called the Stair Server—an adapted sliding tray mechanism custom made for an existing product, the Stair Steady. Their 69-year-old client, Connie, has limitations with stairs due to osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis. She enjoys eating her meals with her husband in front of the TV on another level of the house, but this poses a safety concern as she attempts to navigate the different floors with plates and drinks in hand.
The Stair Server lets her carry meals up and down the steps while holding onto the bar of the Stair Steady, Cannon said. This allows her to support her weight, protect her joints and conserve her energy, as well as assists with balance and proper body mechanics without the added juggling of handling other items.
Occupational therapy student Pooja Joshi and industrial design student Max Munao worked with 13-year-old Anna, who was born with a condition that causes weakness in the hands. They created a device to help her tie a ponytail.
“This collaborative project really merged the two disciplines together,” Cannon said. “The initial idea behind it was from an occupational therapy standpoint in finding a way to allow our client to continue her preferred activities intrinsically tied to her roles and routines that she holds dear. The mechanical aspects, logistics and poster design layout come from an industrial design standpoint and factor in universal design principles. It was a great opportunity to learn from each other.”
Some of the other projects on display included a violin platform shoulder rest for injured or older musicians to allow the neck to be in a less painful position; a motorized scooter positioning seat to help prevent people from sliding out of their seat and make it less fatiguing to sit in their mobility device; and a safer bed-making system for people with limited mobility.
Chabot said the Assistive Tech Collaboration, now in its 18th year, gives occupational therapy students the opportunity to explain their profession and scope of practice to another group, learn to advocate for clients’ needs and introduce them to a design profession they may never have interacted with otherwise.
“Every year, the OT students marvel at the creativity of the industrial design students and get excited to see their ideas come to life,” she said. “From the industrial design side, they learn about the unique perspectives and contributions of an OT to designs and leave the project with a greater understanding of how their designs and products can have a profound effect on someone’s life. This is one of the projects and events that makes PhilaU truly unique. The students should be proud of what they have accomplished this semester.”
President’s Award for Excellence recipient Raju Parakkal with Marion Roydhouse, founding director emerita of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning.
Members of the Philadelphia University faculty were honored at the annual Faculty Reception on April 20 for their exemplary work, dedication and commitment to education excellence.
2017 President’s Award for Excellence
Raju Parakkal, associate professor of international relations, College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts
2017 Roydhouse Teaching Innovation Award
Lisa Phillips, associate professor of interior design, College of Architecture and the Built Environment
Melissa DeGezelle, adjunct professor of writing, College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts
Recognition of Distinguished Adjunct Faculty
Joseph Campbell, adjunct professor of occupational therapy, School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Tatianna Swenda, adjunct professor of geospatial technology for geodesign, College of Architecture and the Built Environment
Peter Maher, adjunct professor of finance, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce
Philip Gibbon, adjunct professor of contemporary perspectives, College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts
Recognition of New Retirees with Emeritus Status
Alexander Messinger, professor of architecture and interior design, College of Architecture and the Built Environment
Creighton Frampton, associate professor of marketing, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce
Elizabeth Mariotz, associate professor of fashion management and merchandising, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce
Delta Mu Delta member senior Mike Louden Jr. at last year’s induction ceremony with his parents.
The Philadelphia University Chapter of the National Business Honor Society, Delta Mu Delta, will hold its annual induction ceremony at the Germantown Cricket Club on Friday, April 21 at 6 p.m.
PhilaU currently has 24 members on campus, and 29 new undergraduate and graduate students will be inducted into the Delta Upsilon chapter of Delta Mu Delta. To be inducted, students must have completed at least half of the program credits, be in the top 20 percent of the class, and have a GPA of 3.7 or better for undergraduates and 3.9 for graduate students.
Geoffrey Cromarty, PhilaU’s vice president for administration and chief operating officer, will welcome the students, parents and faculty and recognize PhilaU’s high-achieving business students. Monica Lam, academic dean of the School of Business Administration, and Ron Kander, executive dean of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, will congratulate the students after the induction ceremony.
Keynote speaker and PhilaU alumna Ginny Palmieri M’95, vice president of specialty services for Independence Blue Cross, will share how being courageous, transparent and authentic can lead to both success in the corporate world and a happier and fuller life.
“As faculty adviser to Delta Mu Delta, it’s a pleasure to participate in such a celebratory event,” said Susan Christoffersen, associate professor of economics and finance. “These students have a proven track record of scholastic achievement, and they’re going to enter the business world with the talents and knowledge to continue to grow throughout their careers.”
“This is an outstanding achievement,” said D.R. Widder, vice president of innovation at PhilaU.
All eligible 2016 certification candidates who are graduates in Philadelphia University’s occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program have passed the certification exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy Inc. (NBCOT), the national certification body for occupational therapy professionals in the United States.
“This is an outstanding achievement,” said D.R. Widder, vice president of innovation at PhilaU and the Steve Blank Innovation Chair. “It’s an entirely external measure of the quality of the program and fulfills the promise that a PhilaU education prepares you for your profession and gives you a high return on investment. Most of all, this success is a testament to the dedication and skill of Marianne Dahl, director of the OTA program, and her faculty.”
The primary purpose of awarding the NBCOT credential—the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA)—is to serve the public interest by certifying only those people who have the necessary knowledge of occupational therapy to practice, according to the agency.
“In order to practice as an occupational therapy assistant in any of the 50 states, you must hold a license issued by that state,” Dahl said. “States have similar but not identical requirements for obtaining a license; however, all require initial certification. We’re very proud of our OTA graduates who are well prepared to obtain a license to practice in any state as evidenced by this well-earned pass rate.”