Pictured above (L-to-R): Stephens students Haylee Johnson ’19, Brandy Shaw ’19 and Joyce Gayo ’20

Joyce Gayo interview


Three Stephens College fashion program students have each received $5,000 scholarships from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund. The School of Design students, Joyce Gayo ’20, Haylee Johnson ’19 and Brandy Shaw ’19, were honored as recipients at the annual YMA gala in New York City this January. 

“This scholarship is about supporting students who will be the future leaders in the fashion industry,” said Assistant Professor Maggie Holper, who traveled with the students on their all-expense paid trip to N.Y.C. “With only 64 schools invited to participate, it is an honor to be among those schools recognized for producing leaders.

“These students will forever be a part of an elite group with opportunities for mentorship and networking.”

In addition to the gala evening, the event included an exclusive internship and career fair with more than 30 sponsoring companies. Students also had opportunities to meet and build connections with other winners and fashion industry representatives. (Pictured right: Gayo meets with a Ralph Lauren representative.)

“It is an honor to be identified as someone who can shape the future of the fashion industry,” said Gayo, an apparel studies major at Stephens.

As part of the competition, each student submitted a competition case study that was then reviewed by more than 200 industry professionals. This year’s case study explored themes of globalization. Students also needed a 3.0 GPA and an interest in pursuing a fashion industry career to participate. 

Shaw, a fashion marketing and management major, shares the sentiments of her classmate.

“It is truly an amazing feeling to be honored in such a way for your hard work,” she said. “I owe part of my success to Stephens faculty, Maggie Holper in particular. Maggie guided me on this journey from start to finish and made sure I created a successful concept. I am appreciative of the many doors YMA has the potential to open for me and I will always cherish this experience.”

For Johnson, the award reaffirms her decision to study fashion in college.

“Receiving this scholarship proved to me that I made the right decision when deciding my career path,” said the fashion marketing and management student. “Winning this scholarship made me realize that Stephens is enabling me to compete successfully with other students in my major across the nation.”

According to the Fashion Scholarship Fund, this year’s contest had more submissions than previous years, increasing the level of competition.

“Any time students can compete on national and international levels, everyone wins from the competitive learning experience,” said Dr. Monica McMurry, Interim Dean of the School of Design. “Last year, two Stephens students received the YMA Fashion Fund Scholarship, and this fall Olivia Catt ’19 was presented with a scholarship from Fashion Group International. Stephens students continue to impress and amaze the fashion industry.”

Established over 80 years ago with a mission to advance the fashion industry by encouraging creative young people to pursue careers in the field, the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund offers scholarships and comprehensive programs to fashion students across the country. Each year, the organization presents scholarships from $5,000 to $35,000, leading the industry in support and commitment to education.  


Tags : Student Success, School of Design, Fashion

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