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The winning PhilaU team of (l-r) Angela Villanueva, Itohan Asemota, Shana Kaplan, Jessica Roberts, Madeline Haas and Nicole Raab will share the $55,000 top prize. The winning PhilaU team of (l-r) Angela Villanueva, Itohan Asemota, Shana Kaplan, Jessica Roberts, Madeline Haas and Nicole Raab will share the $55,000 top prize for the Proof Challenge.

The winning PhilaU team of (l-r) Angela Villanueva, Itohan Asemota, Shana Kaplan, Jessica Roberts, Madeline Haas and Nicole Raab will share the $55,000 top prize for the Proof Challenge.

A transdisciplinary team of Philadelphia University students has won the top prize in a U.S. Department of Defense challenge to redesign protective chemical-biological suits for military troops.

A second PhilaU team was a runner-up in the nationwide competition.

The Proof Challenge by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) sought innovative ideas from the public to increase mobility, dexterity and tactility of these suits, allowing troops to complete their tasks, such as running and climbing, in a fast and comfortable manner.

The winning PhilaU team, which will share the $55,000 top prize, included 2016 fashion merchandising and management alumni and current iMBA students Madeline Haas and Nicole Raab; fashion design seniors Jessica Roberts and Itohan Asemota; textile engineering junior Shana Kaplan; and textile materials technology junior Angela Villanueva. Their project focused on improving tactility and dexterity in the suits.

DODSuit1

The winning PhilaU team interviewed Navy SEALs to help them develop the suit. (Click photo to enlarge.)

“After looking into the current design and interviewing a group of Navy SEALs about their past experiences with the suit, we outlined major aspects to improve,” Kaplan said. “Our final suit is a synthesis of original apparel design and integration of new technologies, with a focus on comfort and functionality.”

The ability to put faces to the project through the interviews proved to be invaluable and gave the group a competitive advantage, Haas said.

Roberts said the opportunity to work on an unfamiliar topic with a transdisciplinary team will enhance her career skills.

“It made me step outside my comfort zone to find a reasonable solution to the problem and made me a better designer,” she said. “I learned to design not for the expected but the unexpected.”

Les Sztandera, professor of computer information systems and faculty lead for the project, said PhilaU students are well-prepared to develop innovative solutions. “To be successful in today’s competitive economy, one needs to collaborate with others,” he said. “That’s what PhilaU students are all about.”

PhilaU’s runner-up team received $5,000 for its project, which sought to improve the suit’s integration of components. The team included 2016 fashion merchandising and management alumna and current iMBA student Chelsey Pyne; fashion design senior Keren Espina; and textile materials technology junior Devon Willard.

They focused on the arm-to-glove, leg-to-boot and hood-to-mask mechanisms and implemented other technologies, such as BioSkin, to allow users to be at a comfortable temperature while still protected from the environment.

Willard said the experience strengthened her interest in performance textiles for military use. “This project taught me the importance of teamwork and the value in creating an ergonomic product,” she said. “I expect to use these skills when researching and developing performance textiles to provide an optimum level of comfort for their intended end uses.”

DODSuit2

PhilaU’s runner-up team sought to improve the suit’s integration of components.

Other PhilaU faculty members participating in the project were Jonathan Spindel, director of engineering programs; Brian George, associate professor of engineering; Janet Brady, associate professor of materials technology; Marcia Weiss, director of textile design and Harold Neuman Textile Design Chair; Sheila Connelly, fashion design program director; Monica Lam, academic dean of the School of Business Administration; Pielah Kim, assistant professor of fashion merchandising and management; Joseph Fritz, adjunct professor of business law and management; Justin O’Pella, assistant dean of academic administration, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; and John Venafro, fashion events coordinator.

Mark Sunderland, director of the M.S. in global fashion enterprise and B.S. in textile material technology programs and Robert J. Reichlin High-Performance Apparel Chair, served as a competition judge.

The winners–showcased on the Proof Challenge Facebook page–will work with JPEO-CBD on the next steps of bringing their innovative concepts to reality.

“The thinking, attention to detail and fresh ideas were astounding, exceeding what we expected,” said LeRoy Garey, Proof Challenge product manager. “This type of public collaboration is something we look forward to tapping into in the future–joining forces with the Americans we serve to help protect this country and our warfighters.”

Spring-Lecture-Series-PosterThe College of Architecture and the Built Environment has invited internationally recognized architects and designers to campus for the Spring 2017 Lecture Series.

Erik Olsen, managing partner at Transsolar KlimaEngineering, will open the series Monday, Feb. 6, with “High Comfort, Low Impact: Climate-Responsive Design Through Collaboration.” He leads the firm’s New York office in working to develop and validate low-energy, architecturally integrated climate and energy concepts.

The series closes with PhilaU architecture alumnus Skylar Tibbits ’07, co-director and founder of the Self-Assembly Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) International Design Center.

All lectures will be held 6 p.m. in the Tuttleman Center Auditorium. The series is free and open to the University community and the public. The speakers include:

Monday, Feb. 6
Erik Olsen
Transsolar KlimaEngineering

Monday, Feb. 13
Yichen Lu
Studio Link-Arc

Monday, Feb. 27
Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto
Reiser + Umemoto

Monday, March 6
Ammr Vandal
nArchitects

Monday, March 20
Kutan Ayata
Young and Ayata

Monday, March 27
Todd Schliemann
Ennead Architects

Monday, April 3
Charles Renfro
Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Monday, April 10
Skylar Tibbits
Annual Alumni Lecture: MIT Self-Assembly Lab

Philadelphia University fashion design senior Vivian Cooper won the top award at the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund’s 80th Annual Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner in New York Jan. 12, Women’s Wear Daily reported Jan. 13.

The YMA created a new scholarship award of $35,000 for Cooper, above the $30,000 scholarships received by three other finalists in the competition.

Philadelphia University Vice President for Information Resources Jeff Cepull advised on the top issues facing higher education chief information officers in 2017 in a Jan. 13 article in CIO Review.

Philadelphia University is launching the pilot for the new sustainability app from MilkCrate, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported Jan. 13.

The new app allows companies a way to encourage their employees to make choices that are more sustainable and earn some type of reward for doing so, the article said, noting that Comcast has also recently signed up for the program. MilkCrate founder Morgan Berman is a graduate of PhilaU’s graduate program in sustainable design.

Vivian Cooper receives her award from actor and Geoffrey Beene brand ambassador Kellan Lutz and Marc Mastronardi, EVP of business development at Macy’s.

Vivian Cooper honored by actor and Geoffrey Beene brand ambassador Kellan Lutz (left) and Marc Mastronardi, EVP of business development at Macy’s.

Philadelphia University fashion design senior Vivian Cooper was awarded the first-ever top award of $35,000 from a national pool of 600 student designers at the YMA Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner in New York Jan. 12.

Marc Mastronardi, executive vice president of business development at Macy’s, announced the unprecedented scholarship award for Cooper in front of a packed ballroom of 1,500 industry leaders, educators and students. Mastronardi, chair of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund committee, said she was the unanimous choice of the judges.

A surprised Cooper, smiling broadly, accepted the award from Mastronardi and actor Kellan Lutz, who is Geoffrey Beene brand ambassador.

“I am beyond humbled and honored by this amazing award and cannot thank the faculty, my amazing friends and my family enough for all of the support, guidance and love they have given me,” Cooper said. “This award will open up doors in the industry, and I look forward to what the future holds.”

At the scholarship dinner, one of the year’s top fashion industry events, Cooper was cheered on by a PhilaU contingent that included Sheila Connelly, fashion design program director; Nioka Wyatt, fashion merchandising and management program director; Michael Leonard, academic dean of the School of Design and Engineering and the David and Lillian Rea Chair of Design and Engineering; and Jesse Shafer, vice president for development and alumni affairs; as well as her parents.

Vivian Cooper with Geoffrey Beene brand ambassador and actor Kellan Lutz and other YMA scholarship winners.

Vivian Cooper with Geoffrey Beene brand ambassador and actor Kellan Lutz and other YMA scholarship winners.

“To see the YMA present its first-ever grand prize $35,000 scholarship award to Vivian was an enormously proud moment for Philadelphia University,” Connelly said. “Vivian is the real deal–talented, smart, genuine and kind. She put countless hours into this project, and this extraordinary honor is well deserved. I could not be more thrilled.”

Cooper and seven other YMA top finalists had to present to judges a project focused on the future of sustainability in the fashion industry. They were challenged to design a product for a mass retailer that adheres to the retailer’s sustainable business objectives while remaining consistent with the retail price of comparable products in the store.

For her case study, Cooper created Full Circle, a private-label junior’s swim and beachwear line for Target made from recycled plastic bottles. Full Circle would partner with Repreve, a company that turns recycled plastics into fibers that can be used to create unique fabrics. In addition, the fashion line would engage communities to support sustainability through the Full Circle Movement.

“The brand would get Target employees out into the communities and, in turn, invite communities to get involved in the bigger mission behind the line–which is to reduce pollution in our oceans,” Cooper said.

In addition to Cooper, seven additional PhilaU students won YMA Fashion Scholarships of $5,000 each in this year’s competition, as previously announced: fashion design students Colton Snavely, Keren Espina, Maria Balestino and Emily DeBernardo and fashion merchandising students Nicole Braun, Zoe Wilson and Maddie Bill, who received the award for the third straight year.

All the scholarship winners attended an internship fair and networking event with top industry officials on Jan. 13.

The annual YMA Geoffrey Beene scholarship competition and its industry-based board provide an extraordinary network that encompasses every leading apparel company in New York, Connelly said.

This year’s YMA competitors represented leading collegiate fashion, fashion merchandising and business programs; finalists along with Cooper included students from the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Cooper was selected to move on in the competition from an original pool of some 600 students from across the country.

PhilaU fashion students historically have performed well in the YMA scholarship program. Fashion design alumna Tia Pion ’15 was a Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship finalist in 2015, and alumni Casey Saccomanno ’08 and Jessica Steele ’09 each won top honors. In addition, dozens of PhilaU students have received $5,000 and $10,000 scholarships in recent years.

The YMA association, made up of fashion industry leaders, promotes education of the fashion arts and business through internships, mentorships and career programs. It awarded $1.3 million in student scholarships this year.

In addition to the students, other honorees at the annual fashion gala included Michael Strahan, fashion entrepreneur and former NFL star; John Tighe, EVP and chief merchant of JCPenney; and Judy Person, EVP group president of Randa Accessories.

In addition to Vivian Cooper’s $35,000 award, seven other PhilaU students received $5,000 scholarships. Pictured here: (l-r) Zoe Wilson, Nicole Braun, Madeleine Bill, Colton Snavely, faculty members Sheila Connelly, Mike Leonard and Nioka Wyatt, Cooper, Keren Espina, Emily DeBernardo and Maria Balestino.

In addition to Vivian Cooper’s $35,000 award, seven other PhilaU students received $5,000 scholarships. Pictured here: (l-r) Zoe Wilson, Nicole Braun, Maddie Bill, Colton Snavely, faculty members Sheila Connelly, Michael Leonard and Nioka Wyatt, Cooper, Keren Espina, Emily DeBernardo and Maria Balestino.

 

Penn State University men’s basketball coach and PhilaU alumnus Pat Chambers brought his team to play Michigan State at the storied Palestra on the University of Pennsylvania campus Jan. 7, The Washington Post, Detroit News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Mlive, Reading Eagle and other media outlets reported.

John Feinstein reported in The Washington Post: “I’m a Philly kid. I’ve got six Philly kids on my team,” said Chambers, who played at Philadelphia University. “I’ve coached here as an assistant, played here in college, coached here as the road team [against Penn and Drexel]. This is obviously a key recruiting area for us. I knew there was some risk giving up a home game, but I figured it was a risk-reward situation that was worth it.”

Chambers ’94 played starting point guard on the Rams squad that won a PhilaU-record 30 games during Chambers’ junior year.

Penn State scored a 72-63 victory over Michigan State this weekend.

Philadelphia University industrial design student Jackson Gordon created a 3D-printed prosthetic arm based on a video game to help a local man born without a left hand, Philly Voice reported Jan. 9.

Jackson, who started the design firm Armatus Designs, based the hand on “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” designing it to be cost-effective and functional for the recipient. Gordon has made the design of the forearm, which can be created for about $100, available to others to use through open-file sharing.

Robotic Arm

PhilaU student Jordan DeCicco has found success on the basketball court and in business, with his all-natural, protein-packed coffee drink company Sunniva, 6ABC sports reporter Jeff Skversky reported Jan. 6.

Watch the 6ABC video here.

 

Junior fashion student Caroline Stavros earned first place in the Free People design challenge.

Junior fashion student Caroline Stavros earned first place in the Free People design challenge.

Philadelphia University fashion students recently participated in an industry project to design new collections that would expand on Free People’s current offerings.

The project challenged the junior fashion students to seek new designs within the brand parameters with a specific customer and budget in mind. The students had to analyze Free People’s existing offerings and identify new areas or opportunity that could move the brand forward.

Ashley Giambrone’s Free People collection features denim and leather.

Junior Ashley Giambrone’s Free People collection features denim and leather with some heavier and darker-hued fabrics throughout.

“The project presented a valuable learning opportunity that allowed students to experience similar challenges to those they will face in industry,” said Carly Kusy, fashion design instructor. “Students learn to balance their own design aesthetic with that of the brand identity.”

A design team from Free People, which, along with Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, is part of parent company URBN, picked the project winners. The top three students received monetary prizes:

First Place: Caroline Stavros
Second Place: Alexandra Pizzigoni
Third Place: Ashley Giambrone
Honorable Mentions: Lea Paul and Julian Prakansa

With an emphasis on bohemian fashion, Free People features a wide range of products from apparel to accessories, intimates, outerwear, home and beauty.