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The Wilson College of Textiles Experience

Campus skyline

Photo by Marc Hall

Story written by Delaney Joyce

Two students. Two amazingly different stories. Learn about the college experience from one student majoring in fashion and textile management and from a recent alumna who majored in polymer and color chemistry. Students at the Wilson College of Textiles have a multitude of opportunities available to them and can engage in opportunities that are unique to their personalities and career aspirations.    

Destini Morton ’21

Destini Morton at a NC State football game.

Major: Fashion and Textile Management

Tell us about yourself and what led you to NC State.

I am from Rocky Mount, NC. I have always been interested in the fashion industry. I started creating my first sketches when I was five years old and since then I have always known it is my calling to do something within this industry.

Ultimately, what led me to NC State was the Wilson College of Textiles. Finding out that they had one of the top fashion/textiles programs in the country, and then getting to experience the college first at their open house made me feel as though it was the perfect place for me.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

Currently, I am a Wilson College of Textiles Ambassador, University Ambassador for NC State football recruiting, chair of the Black Students Board, dean’s page for Wilson College, planning assistant for the FTD Showcase, a scholar in the University Scholars Program and a model for our campus magazine, Platform Magazine.

In the past, I have served as the social media executive (as a sophomore) and vice-chair (most of junior year) for the Black Students Board. I have also served as a creative media intern for NC State Football and as the National Retail Foundation Ambassador to represent the college.

What experiences have been the most impactful during your time at NC State/Wilson College of Textiles?

The most impactful experiences for me have been participating in fashion shows that Wilson College holds walking the runway during the fall semester for Threads to present one of my garments and being the planning assistant for the FTD Showcase that takes place in the spring. Both opportunities have given me another look at a different part of the fashion industry other than just the business and manufacturing.

Also, being a dean’s page has been highly impactful. It has given me the opportunity to build connections with a lot of faculty who give me advice when it comes to my current school plans and future plans. Being a dean’s page has also given me the opportunity to develop friendships that I see lasting for a lifetime.

Are there things that you know now that you wished you had known as a student and that we can share with our current and future students?

Honestly, I wish that I had known more about how expensive being a fashion major can be at times. It definitely would not have changed my mind about my passion nor my major in any way but it would have helped me prepare better financially. I do have an on-campus job as a dean’s page at the Wilson College which helps with the cost. For future students, I would recommend putting money aside to use toward necessary materials or pursuing student work positions on campus. Every semester there is a job fair, for NC State University as a whole, where you can find out information about the different student jobs available.  

What experiences have you taken from NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles that has benefited you the most?

I would definitely say both my time spent in classes and around faculty has surely benefited me the most. I know having classes that benefit you is the expectation but I can honestly say most, if not all, of my classes have helped me in developing my goals for my future career and plans while still in school. After taking numerous marketing courses and a couple of entrepreneurship classes, I finally feel confident enough to make advances toward starting a fashion vlog and customizing/upcycling a clothing business which I hope to start this summer. 

As for my time with faculty and professionals in the college, I have been awarded great opportunities and received helpful advice. A few people that I speak to the most are: Delisha Hinton, associate director of student services, Dr. Delisia Matthews, assistant professor in the Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management, and Amanda Padbury, executive assistant to the dean. Delisha Hinton has been an amazing guide for me when discussing current courses and summer plans. Dr. Matthews presented me with an opportunity that became my first internship with a local fashion and art entrepreneur. Amanda Padbury has not only been a great supervisor for my dean’s page position but also an appreciable advisor when discussing my intentions after my undergraduate studies. 

What are some of your fondest memories of being at NC State/Wilson College of Textiles?

The renaming of the college, and helping with releasing the name change banners during the Chancellor’s address and distributing souvenirs to the faculty and guests. It was during that time when I met Amanda Padbury, the dean’s executive assistant. She asked me if I would be interested in being a dean’s page, leading me to say yes and now loving my job and the people that I get to work with in the dean’s office and the college.

Another great memory would be the Pan-Afrikan Week events. As someone who has been a part of the Black Students Board since my freshman year, seeing the process of what it takes to plan the week itself and all the hard work that goes into has taught me a lot. Now, moving on to my senior year and being chair, I have the opportunity to plan and develop my own Pan-Afrikan week.

Do you have any funny/or interesting anecdotes about your time in the Wilson College that you would like to share? 

Interesting times within Wilson College would include the late nights I have worked with friends — sometimes in the studio or in the computer labs to complete projects. The jokes, the food, the talk, and the bonding allowed us to become close friends. Close enough to the point that we make sure we at least have one or two classes together every semester. 

What interested you in the Wilson College of Textiles?

I attended a Wilson College of Textiles Open House during my senior year of high school. When we took a tour, I felt like it was one of the best, if not the perfect place, for me to continue my education. Learning about all the opportunities I would have and the chances to work with published professors, as well as the fact that it is one of the top fashion and textile colleges in the country was a major plus. Then, getting to know people like my former academic advisor Bri Hart [now Assistant Director of WISE Village], Delisha Hinton and Dr. Delisia Matthews, gave me a support system that made me feel as though I had a family away from home.

How will your experiences at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles impact your career future?

I believe my experiences at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles will definitely have a great impact on my future career. I have learned and retained, and am still learning and retaining, a lot of information that I feel as though I can apply immediately. As someone who wants to go into entrepreneurship, this program has truly been a blessing to be a part of because it has given me every aspect of the fashion industry I would need to know for my own business – marketing, fabric and garment creation, accounting, entrepreneurship and much more.

Amanda Gregory ’19

Amanda Gregory in graduation gown.

Major: Polymer and Color Chemistry

Tell us about yourself and what led you to NC State.

I am a legacy not only of NC State but the Wilson College of Textiles. My dad graduated in 1986 from NC State with a degree in textile chemistry [since changed to polymer and color chemistry]. I grew up an NC State fan and quite honestly never saw myself going anywhere else. I applied to other colleges but only out of courtesy — in the chance that I did not get accepted into NC State — but I knew NC State was home and where I belonged.

I have always been good at math and science, and NC State being a renowned STEM school made it an even better fit. I absolutely loved my four years at NC State and attending the Wilson College of Textiles is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

What extracurricular activities were you involved in?

I was heavily involved in the Music Department at NC State. Throughout my four years, I was a part of the Power Sound of the South Marching Band, Pep Band, Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. Ever since I was in middle school, band was always my thing, so I decided to continue that into college. Marching Band was my introduction into college as I moved in early and started camp before classes started. It is where I met some of my best friends and made my college experience what it was. Getting to play on the field at football games are some of my best memories from college and times I will never forget. 

What experiences have been the most impactful during your time at NC State/Wilson College of Textiles? 

One of the best and most impactful experiences I had was my time as a Dean’s Page. It taught me so much, helped me learn how to be a part of a real workplace and afforded me the opportunity to get to know all of the faculty, staff and a lot of students at the Wilson College of Textiles. It helped me step out of my comfort zone, learn new things and improve upon the skills I already had. It also allowed me to be a part of events throughout the college and be a part of the behind-the-scenes in a lot of situations which are some of my favorite parts of my college experience. 

Are there things that you know now that you wished you had known as a student and that we can share with our current and future students?

I was one of those kids that was always good at school and things came easy. Good grades were second nature and I never had to study or try too hard most of the time to succeed. I went into college thinking that was going to be the case and like many others who went in with the wrong idea of what college was like, I quickly learned that college is HARD. You are, in fact, going to have to work for it. I struggled a lot academically during my freshman year as I had to learn how to study and figure out what worked for me to help me succeed in a more challenging environment. Being someone who had a very distinguished academic record, I came in, expecting that to just happen like it always had but that was indeed not the case. So, I wish I had someone to tell me that college is hard and it’s ok because there are people here to help you.

Also, the other piece of advice I tell any incoming freshman whenever I am asked is to get involved! What is your thing? Whether it be intramural sports, art, science, service, music — there is a club, group or organization for quite literally everything at NC State so take advantage of it. One of the biggest advantages of going to such a big school is all the resources and vast range of interests of the student body. I promise there is a group on campus whose members are interested in the same thing as you. So, sign up, get involved and get connected; it will make your college experience live up to all the hype that they say it is. 

What are some of your fondest memories of being at NC State/Wilson College of Textiles?

Some of my fondest memories of NC State are game days — being a part of the Marching Band and getting to travel to various states to go to games and all the opportunities that afforded me. But overall, the people that I was able to meet and become friends with are the reason my time at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles was so great. I met so many people and the faculty, staff and students at the Wilson College of Textiles supported me and helped me make it through the undoubtedly hard times that will come with going to college. All the time spent with friends between classes in the atrium — working on projects, assignments, anything and everything. In my opinion, college cannot be done alone. It is so much better with people and the people are what made my college experience what it was.

Do you have any funny / interesting anecdotes about your time in the Wilson College that you would like to share?

I just think the best part of the Polymer and Color Chemistry (PCC) program was honestly how tight knit we all were. We all had the people we would hang out with more than others, but it was a giant team effort to get to the finish line. We all helped each other out, collaborated and pushed each other to make it to graduation. That is one of the best parts about having such a small group of people in your major; you get to know each other so well. I know I wouldn’t have made it to the end or at least had as much fun without all of them.

What interested you in the Wilson College of Textiles?

I started my time at NC State in the College of Engineering. As I said before I was always good at math and science but I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life at age 18 going into college. Everyone told me I should be an engineer so I rolled with it and applied and was accepted into the College of Engineering. I started my first semester taking E101 and your standard engineering first-year classes and quickly figured out that this might not be for me as engineering was just not what I thought it was. Not only was my dad a textile chemistry major, my mom also has a chemistry degree, so looking back on how I thought I would do anything else blows my mind. But I had a couple of friends in the PCC Department and the more they were talking about their major, it piqued my interest. So after some thought, I took the plunge and switched. It just so happened to be the exact same degree my dad has. That was unplanned and unintentional but it’s funny how things work out. I was also attracted to the small school aspect of the Wilson College of Textiles while still being at a big school with all those amenities as well. 

How will your experiences at NC State/Wilson College of Textiles impact your career future?

College teaches you a whole lot more than just what you learn in the classroom. NC State turned me into the independent, functioning adult that I am now. As cliché as it sounds, college really does teach you how to be an adult, and I know that the Wilson College of Textiles played a big role in my current success in the “real world.” My experience as a dean’s page helped me learn professional skills that I use every day now. And of course, my experiences in the classroom, all that I learned from my professors and the research opportunities I had helped me learn what I was interested in and what I was not. It helped me figure out what I want in a future workplace and where I excel. One of the best things about the Wilson College of Textiles is that it is a small college at a large university. I knew every single person in my major that I graduated with and that made all the difference in my college experience. The Wilson College of Textiles is collaborative on every level including the projects we do in the classroom. The workplace is one giant group project and my time at the Wilson College of Textiles helped me learn how to be a part of a team — just like I am every single day now.

After graduation, Amanda began working at American & Efird as a dyehouse systems manager.