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Four Drexel Students Win Prestigious YMA Fashion Scholarships

2019 YMA Winners

January 11, 2019

Four students received $5,000 awards from the 2019 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund—the largest fashion scholarship program in the world. The winners include Design & Merchandising seniors Emily Conlon, Yanan Lin and Erica Suraci, and Fashion Design senior Kendall Flavin.

“Being a YMA scholar opens so many doors for our students,” says Chris Baeza, Program Director for Drexel University’s Design & Merchandising program. “We have integrated the case studies into our curriculum to give every Design & Merchandising student at least one opportunity to submit their work while at Drexel.”

Cindy Golembuski, Associate Program Director for the Fashion Design program at Drexel University, noted, “The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund case studies are a great opportunity for our students to research relative issues that are happening in the fashion industry and provide a forum to showcase their design ability.”

In this year’s case study, applicants explored opportunities for a fashion company to expand in the global market through the lens of design, merchandising, analytics or supply chain. Winner Emily Conlon’s concept was based on market research surrounding consumer demand for sustainable products and the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. The expansion concept would bring their new venture Worn Wear, which seeks to eliminate textile waste, to Norway.

“The case study pushed me outside of my comfort zone and gave me the opportunity to further understand the importance of researching demographics and consumer behaviors when expanding into a new market,” says Conlon.

Twenty Drexel students from Design & Merchandising and Fashion Design submitted conceptual cases to the prestigious competition. In total, the Fashion Scholarship Fund received 740 applications from students in both creative and business disciplines from 64 colleges and universities nationwide.

“I'm honored with the recognition of receiving a YMA Fashion Scholarship,” says Erica Suraci. “I'm grateful for not only the financial support, but for the mentorship program and the opportunity to work with an industry professional to help me prepare for a rewarding and successful career in the fashion industry!”

On January 10 and 11, 2019, all YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund winners convened in New York City to attend a gala and career fair to celebrate their accomplishments and network with top companies, making critical connections within the industry.

The YMA association, made up of fashion industry leaders, promotes fashion arts and business education through internships, mentorships, and career programs for talented students.

“It is incredibly rewarding to be recognized,” says Kendall Flavin. “As a graduating senior, having the opportunity to network with industry professionals and receive guidance from mentors is beyond what I would have previously had access to.”

Students in the Westphal College Department of Design have historically done well in the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund competition, with winners from both the Design & Merchandising and Fashion Design programs for the past three years. In January 2017, then sophomore Mia Lazzaro earned a perfect score, winning her a $10,000 scholarship.