Ciara Oden ’16: STEP and Senior Design Are Still This Young Alumna’s Favorite College Experiences
By Kamilah Heslop
Ciara Oden ’16
B.S. Textile Technology, 2016
Why did you choose NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles?
I chose NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles because of the Summer Textile Exploration Program (STEP). I was one of the few students who was able to explore and learn about NC State and the textiles industry through the program. It was such a fun experience and ultimately sparked my interest in textiles.
What activities were you involved in as an NC State student and how did they impact your experience?
Throughout my undergraduate career, I was a group fitness instructor at the Wellness and Recreation Center. My time as an instructor helped me to stay fit but also allowed me to meet and connect with tons of people! Some of whom I am still in contact with today.
What are some of your fondest memories of being at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles?
My fondest memory is working on my senior project with Professor Russell Gorga and Professor Jess Jur. It was an amazing hands-on experience and was a glimpse into the real world.
We were able to travel out of the country to Honduras to view the real-life production of t-shirts. I also loved the freedom that came with working on our senior project. It was definitely a 10/10 experience.
What was your favorite place on campus and why?
The James B. Hunt, Jr. Library. It was the best place to take naps!
Who influenced you most during your time at the Wilson College of Textiles?
Professor Jeff Joines. I love how passionate he is about his students and his job. He supported me throughout my entire time as a student.
Be open to change. In college, I had my entire future mapped out. Everything I am doing now is completely different than my plan, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
– Ciara Oden ’16
How did your education at the Wilson College of Textiles prepare you for what you are doing today?
After graduating, I spent five years in corporate retail where I was able to apply my base knowledge of textiles to my immediate role.
Are there things that you know now that you wished you had known as a student?
Be open to change. In college, I had my entire future mapped out. Needless to say, everything I am doing now is completely different than my original plan, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Describe your career path.
I graduated from NC State in 2016. After graduating, I immediately moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I worked at Kohl’s corporate headquarters as a product development coordinator for two years.
After that time, I moved back to North Carolina to be closer to my family — where I began working at a smaller company called TTI Global Resources, Inc., which develops and manufactures socks and hosiery. While there, I spent most of my time developing socks for Adidas.
I stayed at TTI Global for a little under a year before moving to Charlotte to work at Belk’s corporate office as an assistant product manager in the home goods department. There, I designed and developed comforters, pillows, sheets and towels.
Once the pandemic hit, I made the decision to enter the technology industry. In my new role, I serve as a presales solution associate at SAP, which is one of the world’s leading producers of software for the management of business processes — including those used within supply chain management.
View Ciara’s LinkedIn profile.