Skip to main content
Honors and Awards

Wilson College of Textiles, VF Foundation Partner to Support Future Leaders of the Apparel, Footwear Industries

fountain at the Wilson College of Textiles Graduate Commons (outdoors) with trees in fall colors in the background

By Sarah Stone

Nine graduate students at the Wilson College of Textiles are now better equipped to pursue their dream of a career in apparel and footwear. 
The Wilson College awarded each winner of the 2022 VF Student Impact Awards with a $5,000 fellowship to fund their research goals and professional development opportunities. Funding for the fellowships comes from a generous gift from the VF Foundation. The VF Foundation is the private, grantmaking foundation funded by the VF Corporation, which includes brands like The North Face, Vans and Timberland.

More than two dozen graduate students in the college applied for the fellowships. A group of Wilson College faculty members and administrators chose the winners based on how well their proposals: 

  • Related to the field of apparel and/or footwear.
  • Aligned with VF Venture Foundry principles
  • Aligned with the Wilson College of Textiles Strategic Plan.
  • Promoted diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Exhibited high quality, clarity and commitment.
  • Explained the impact of the financial support.

Winners will use their fellowships to support research and professional development in fields ranging from pattern design to e-textiles to personal protective equipment (PPE). Below, learn more about the winning students and how they plan to use the funding. 

Kyler Arnold

Program: M.S. Textiles
Project: Consumer perceptions of upcycled fashion products
Advisor: Anne Porterfield 

Arnold’s research focuses on gaining a better understanding of what consumers think about upcycling to build expertise as a conscious designer of sustainable fashion products. He plans to eventually launch a personal fashion business that promotes sustainable production and consumption and helps educate others on the principles of upcycling. 

He’’ll use this fellowship to help them pay for their master’s degree and potentially continue on to a Ph.D. program at the college. 

Beomjun Ju

Program: Ph.D. Fiber and Polymer Science 
Project: Flexible electronics for textile-based devices
Advisor: Jesse Jur 

Ju is applying his expertise in flexible printed electronics made with conductive, capacitive, magnetic and piezoelectric materials to fabricate practical wearable applications such as armbands, wristbands and t-shirts. Ju’s research will ultimately lead to the development of textiles with printed sensors that can track electrocardiogram (ECG) data, electromyography (EMG) data and more. 

He plans to use this fellowship to buy data acquisition devices to expand the scope of his testing and to attend conferences where he can present his research. 

Uikyung Jung

Program: Ph.D. Textile Technology Management 
Project: Firefighting PPE for the female form 
Advisors: Anne Porterfield, Cassandra Kwon 

Jung’s research will improve equity for firefighters. She plans to move 3D apparel visualization software into the industrial product design space in order to develop firefighter suits and gear that better fits the female form. 

She’ll use the fellowship to develop virtual garments, collect data for her research through body scanning and attend a conference. 

Yali Ling

Program: Ph.D. Textile Technology Management 
Project: Hemp processing for apparel and footwear
Advisor: Rong Yin 

Ling’s research will fill knowledge gaps and make it more practical for product developers to incorporate hemp into apparel and footwear. 

She will use her fellowship to coordinate a student hemp interest group, attend conferences to share her research and take a number of trips to engage with hemp producers and processors that will inform her research. 

Maddy Lyon

Program: M.S. Textiles
Project: Factors affecting apparel recycling
Advisor: Karen Leonas 

Lyon’s research focuses on increasing the amount of apparel that is recycled by informing designers during the product development phase.

She’ll use the fellowship to enhance the usefulness and visibility of her research insights, from data visualization to presenting the research at conferences. 

Reza Kamali Miab

Program: Ph.D. Textile Technology Management
Project: Footwear for female healthcare workers
Advisor: Pamela McCauley 

Miab’s research aims to provide footwear for female healthcare workers that can reduce the foot and ankle problems they face during long shifts. 

The fellowship will fund testing of different samples Miab is considering for this new footwear design. It will also allow him to test the footwear on a much more diverse population. 

Ana Alves Musialak

Program: M.S. Textiles 
Project: Digital prototyping case study 
Advisor: Lisa Chapman

Musialak’s research focuses on virtual prototyping for apparel product development. She says this funding will help her gather background knowledge by meeting with leaders of the apparel companies she’d like to interview for her thesis. 

She’ll use the fellowship to attend the TexWorld New York City conference and the International Textile and Apparel Association Conference to inform her studies. 

Mary Nease

Program: Master of Textiles
Project: Promoting pattern design for larger sized bodies
Advisor: Lisa Chapman 

Nease’s research aims to provide resources that will make the fashion industry more inclusive for consumers of all sizes. She’ll learn how to use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) programs to develop drafting and fitting techniques for expanding apparel size ranges. Then, she’ll develop more standardized guides to help teach students how to design apparel patterns for women sizes 14 and up. 

Sneha Rani

Program: Ph.D. Textile Technology Management
Project: Adaptive clothing for inclusiveness 
Advisors: Delisia Matthews, Lori Rothenberg 

Rani’s research focuses on brands market adaptive clothing to seniors. 

She’ll study how brands that sell these products promote and post on social media, as well as how senior consumers react to this social media strategy. That information will be used to develop insights to market clothing to seniors in a more inclusive manner. 

With the fellowship, Rani will be able to recruit a large number of survey participants and pay for the costs associated with presenting her research at an upcoming conference.