Educator Inspire: Connections past, present and future

Ann Thye and David Berkman from the Avery Dennison Corporation at the 2011 YMA FSF gala dinner.

Introducing the FOF blog’s “Inspire” column from the FSF Educators. First up: Ann Thye of Iowa State University. Ann takes us on a brief history of how the YMA FSF has benefited her students and program through networking and creating strong, long-lasting relationships with leaders of the fashion industry.

Take it away, Professor Thye…

Iowa State University’s Apparel Merchandising and Design program first became involved with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund in 2006. This wonderful partnership grew from a WWD headline about the Geoffrey Beene Estate’s generous gift to the fund that year. Our first two scholars were named that spring, interned in New York with divisions of Kellwood and Oxford Industries, and were honored at the January 2007 gala dinner. At this dinner, I enjoyed introducing myself and the two scholars, Amanda McBroom and Danielle Buckingham, to the many industry executives and supporters on hand. A chance introduction to Cliff Lelonek, the President and CEO of US Polo Association, led to a new connection and partnership for Iowa State. When Cliff heard we were from Iowa State, he excitedly told us that his company’s creative strategist, Jim Ryan, grew up in Ames and was an Iowa State alum. We wove through the nearly 1,700 in attendance, and were pleased to meet Jim. I invited Jim to attend our annual Iowa State Fashion show that is attended by crowds of over 2,500 people each year. Jim has become an inspirational mentor to our program. Each spring, both Cliff and Jim welcome our field study trip group to their corporate headquarters for a presentation and focus group session. We now have a tradition of Lazzaras Pizza and a warm welcome by this great company and supporter of the YMA. Jim also has visited our campus at ISU and spoken to our classes and faculty a number of times. This input has had a positive effect on our nearly 500 undergraduate and graduate students and program. Many more corporate connections and relationships have been made in the last five years, and the scholarship fund has awarded over $100,000 to our students. We are excited about new connections and what the future will hold!

– Ann Thye, Academic Advisor, Internship Coordinator, Field Study Trip Leader


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