By Debbie Willmschen

Emilie Phan, who recently graduated from NC State with a Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering (TE), understood that finding connections and community in a large university setting might be a challenge. But for Phan, the main advantage of the Wilson College of Textiles was its intimate atmosphere within the larger NC State environment.

“I found my biggest support system became my entire TE class,” Phan says. “From checking on each other to making sure everyone was aware of due dates to studying together before an exam, my classmates offered constant support. I never felt like I was alone in this process.”

Phan made the most of her college experience by joining clubs, completing an internship and studying abroad. She recounts some of her fondest memories as part of a semester exchange program where she spent time studying at the University of Adelaide in Australia. But Phan considers her highest accomplishment becoming a part of the Global Diversity Advocates group within the Study Abroad Office after returning from Australia.

“The Global Diversity Advocates group specifically promotes study abroad programs to students in underrepresented identities,” Phan says. “I attended study abroad events as a speaker or panelist to share my experiences and to answer experience-based questions that can’t be found on the website. In my time here, I connected with students and provided excitement and confidence as they embarked on these life-changing journeys. This group is where I found personal fulfillment in giving back to the community that changed the trajectory of my life.”

Going forward, Phan has accepted an offer with Under Armour where she plans to help the company transition to the 3D space for prototyping and iterations. Her goal is to reduce waste in material and time within the textiles industry.

“I hope to use my knowledge of TE to improve the understanding of soft physics,” Phan says. “At some point in the future, I have plans to return to school to get a masters, but I’m not sure what yet!”

If Phan could give advice to incoming students, she would want those students to understand the talent the faculty of Wilson College brings to the table. For Phan, understanding this concept provided freedom to explore the industry-leading research offered at the college.

“Fully comprehending that your professors are leaders in the textiles industry really flips a switch in your brain,” Phan says. “When you realize that, you begin to email research professors and teams to take advantage of lab opportunities or to discover a new side of the textile industry. Only then can you say with confidence whether a specific career path is your true passion!”