By Sarah Stone

An elite education is within reach for the next generation of textile industry innovators thanks to the generosity of the North Carolina Textile Foundation

Three students make up the 2025 class of Textile Pioneer Scholars. The $14,000 scholarship is given each year to students from non-metropolitan areas in North Carolina planning to attend the Wilson College of Textiles. Scholars also receive $4,000 in enrichment funds heading into their first year.

This year’s winners shared more about their interests in careers in the textile industry, plans for their time at NC State and perspectives on what it means to be a Textile Pioneer Scholar.

Khiara Dargan

Jacksonville, NC
Fashion and Textile Management

Khiara Dargan’s interest in a fashion career started at a young age, when she was inspired by the styles in “Bratz” and “Barbie” movies. NC State’s reputation in the industry made a big impact on this Textile Pioneer Scholar. 

“I first learned about the Wilson College of Textiles when I was researching different schools that had stellar fashion programs,” Dargan says.   

Now, she plans to use her studies in fashion and textile management to pursue a career in business or publishing.

Why did you decide to enroll at NC State University’s Wilson College of Textiles?

I decided to enroll at NC State University’s Wilson College of Textiles mainly because of its rankings and testimonials from current students and alumni. The scholarship interview was what really pushed me to enroll. I fell in love with the community and felt immediately welcomed into the NC State community. 

What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to work with textiles everyday, somehow. I think I may find my best fit working in magazines or some other related fields. 

What does it mean to be a recipient of a Textile Pioneer Scholarship?

Being a recipient of the Textile Pioneer Scholarship gives me a chance to further my education and opens up doors for my future career I would otherwise not be able to. Receiving the scholarship also allows me to find my own place in the world through leadership activities and volunteering.

Jordan Everett

Fayetteville, NC
Textile Technology

Jordan Everett first learned about the Wilson College of Textiles during its annual Open House. As a student at NC State, she hopes to get involved in student government and sports. The Textile Pioneer Scholar plans to pursue a master’s degree following graduation. 

Why did you enroll at NC State University’s Wilson College of Textiles?

I wanted to attend college in North Carolina, nothing too big, but within my comfort zone. I wanted to attend a school in an area with better opportunities and not far from home.

What interested you in pursuing your major and what appeals to you most about your major?

What interests me about the textile technology major is the ability to design clothing and produce clothing for individuals that work in hazardous environments. What appeals most about this is the technological innovations design.

What does it mean to be a recipient of a Textile Pioneer Scholarship?

When I received notification of being a recipient of the Textile Pioneer Scholarship, I was overwhelmed, humbled and super excited.  Receiving the Textile Pioneer Scholarship has enabled me to attend NC State University and have enough funding to meet my financial obligations for completing school. It will allow me to spend more time maximizing the college experience by studying, volunteering and participating internship programs.

Olivia Jernigan

Wilson, NC
Fashion and Textile Management

Olivia Jernigan’s classmates first piqued her interest in the Wilson College of Textiles. After hearing about how much other students at her high school had enjoyed the college’s Summer Textile Exploration Program (STEP), she decided to attend the annual Open House and later attend STEP herself. Jernigan will use her Textile Pioneer Scholarship to kickstart a career as a buyer. 

Why did you enroll at NC State University’s Wilson College of Textiles?

I recognized that the community knew the importance of diversity and equality right when I visited the Open House in October of 2019. I believed that this textile college was the very best for me and what I needed to succeed as the community members pay close attention to what each student deserves in order to acquire their future goals.

What interested you in pursuing your major and what appeals to you most about your major?

What interested me most in pursuing fashion and textile management was that I will have the opportunity to work with others in order to influence fashion industry leaders. Not only will I be able to have a part in executing the right marketing strategy, but also how the customer reacts to the product. I was really able to identify this love as I attended STEP last summer, and that really helped me realize all the components that go into running a business as well as learning the importance of customer service. What really appealed to me the most about this major was that it would assist me in trying to make the clothing industry more diverse. I have always been interested in fashion, and it brings me a lot of joy to learn more about the business side of it. I want to be able to ensure that everyone, no matter who they are, feels comfortable in their attire whether it is for personal, cultural or religious reasons.

What does it mean to be a recipient of a Textile Pioneer Scholarship?

To be a recipient of the Textile Pioneer Scholarship means a great deal. When I think of the Pioneer Scholarship I think of leadership, teamwork and service. I feel that as a Textile Pioneer Scholar, I have exhibited these traits throughout my years in high school and will continue to exhibit them throughout my college career. Overall, it is an honor to be a recipient of this scholarship as it represents not only the love for the textile industry, but also a passion for making effective influences on others as well. It would not have been possible without the generous donors and the Wilson College of Textiles faculty.

Are you interested in becoming a Textile Pioneer Scholar? 

To be eligible for a scholarship at the Wilson College of Textiles, you must apply to NC State by the early admission deadline. For more information about the scholarship program, click here.