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Doors Opened with YMA Fashion Scholarship
by Bianca Gonzales '12
The Retail Management Institute (RMI) supports me and connects me with opportunities and experiences that I did not know existed. As a 20-year-old junior, these opportunities and experiences have led me to believe more in myself and my own capabilities, and have provided the chance to establish a career that I am passionate about. One of the main reasons I have found myself on this path is the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund.
The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund is an amazing association that works to maintain and cultivate a powerful, innovative future for the fashion industry through the direct support and guidance of students looking to find success in their own careers in the industry. When I first heard about the scholarship through RMI, I knew it was a great opportunity. I first applied as a sophomore and didn't receive it. This past fall I made a second attempt while studying abroad. Even though I was out of the country, I took more time to prepare, research, and get insight from professors and past scholars.
The application requires a short essay, and a two-part case study/business plan that revolves around creating an online business that fills a gap in the marketplace today. The project required analyzing the competition and the industry and considering different facets of business strategy and planning. Initially, it was intimidating, but with more research and progress I felt better about my work and the insight I was gaining.
I was elated when I received the news that I had been chosen as a YMA scholar. I felt accomplished and justified in my efforts and could not wait to connect with the industry I have found myself so intrigued by.
The award offered me a scholarship of $5,000, a great connection with a mentor from Phillips-Van Heusen, and a chance to take my first trip to New York for an awards ceremony and dinner. The New York experience was unforgettable. I stayed at the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel and attended a mixer before the dinner. At the mixer we networked and met influential leaders from various companies and backgrounds, as well as other students working toward their own aspirations in the industry. During the dinner I found myself surrounded by an even larger multitude of major influences in the fashion world: fashion designers, models, presidents of companies, and more. The Future of Fashion Award was given to Jason Wu, who designed the dress Michelle Obama wore to the inauguration ball. To be surrounded by so many talented and successful people in fashion, and hearing from the host that we were the future of the industry was truly inspiring and motivating.
With the help of RMI and the YMA scholarship, I now find myself with a summer internship at PVH in New York, working directly with my mentor for 10 weeks. I could not be more thankful for joining the RMI program. RMI and the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund have provided me with so much to look forward to. They have allowed me to explore what I want for my future career and have made my educational path much more exciting and applicable to my aspirations.