Calli Cooper, an Oklahoma State University design, housing and merchandising junior is set to study at Regent’s University London with a prestigious scholarship from the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA).
Cooper will study fashion merchandising for six weeks at Regent’s University London campus over the 2021 summer, then pursue a six-week fashion styling internship in the United Kingdom. Dr. Hyejune Park, assistant professor in the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising (DHM), encouraged Cooper to apply and supported her in compiling a portfolio from all of her OSU classwork.
“Calli is a hard-working student who is always willing to improve with a ‘can-do’ attitude,” Park said. “She also has a great passion for fashion merchandising. I'm sure that Calli's achievement will inspire many DHM students to realize their full potential and go further.”
Cooper will be formally recognized at the virtual ITAA Annual Meeting, “Pivoting for the Pandemic,” set to be held from Nov. 18-21, 2020. For her, the recognition is bittersweet, after an abrupt ending to a spring 2020 study abroad to Florence, Italy, due to COVID-19 concerns inspired her to pursue other study abroad options.
“I spent the spring and summer turning my grief and loss into finding more opportunities within the fashion industry,” Cooper said. “I am striving for a fashion career that allows me to travel and experience different cultures, so I looked for any and every opportunity abroad.”
A testament to persevering amidst adversity, Park said she believes Cooper is an encouragement to other DHM students. In addition to the ITAA scholarship to London, OSU DHM students are encouraged to join department-led trips ranging from New York City to Costa Rica and Western Europe.
“This scholarship will provide Calli with a great opportunity for global experience, which the DHM program emphasizes,” Park said. “I'd like to see more DHM students having this kind of opportunity because I know they each have a great capability and passion!”
Cooper has participated in DHM events including Euphoria, a student-led fashion show, and class trips to New York City and Dallas, Texas. The Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising department is ranked 14th for fashion design and 18th for fashion merchandising amongst all U.S. public schools, according to the Fashion Schools website, and Park said Cooper’s scholarship recognition adds even more credibility to the program.
“ITAA is the most premier international organization in the field of textile and apparel area. It means a lot that our students actively participate and excel in this primary community of scholarship and education,” Park said.
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