Summer Textile Exploration Program (STEP)

2021 Summer Textile Exploration Program Dates (STEP is closed.)

  • 1st Week: June 13 – 18
  • 2nd Week: June 20 – 25
  • 3rd Week: June 27 – July 2
  • 4th Week: July 11 – 16
  • 5th Week: July 18 – 23

The Wilson College of Textiles Summer Textile Exploration Program (STEP) consists of five one-week sessions for rising high school seniors interested in learning about the textile industry, fashion, engineering, polymer science and business marketing. Up to 35 students per week are chosen based on their academic success, interest in NC State Wilson College of Textiles, and extracurricular activities.

Students participate in sessions learning about the five degree programs offered in the Wilson College of Textiles, applying to NC State University, Centennial Scholarship, future internship and job opportunities, and learning about the industry from partners and alumni.  Each student has the opportunity to choose their top project interest and will spend parts of the morning afternoon working on project pertaining to one of the following that has been completed in the past.

  • Apparel Design
    • Students use their creative skills and recycle garments into a newly constructed outfit.
  • Textile Engineering
    • Dr. Bradford leads an engineering group in the study of fiber composite materials.  Fibers are often hidden in everyday objects that help make our life better.  From fiberglass boats to carbon fiber aircraft, fibers make high-performance structures possible.  This project group explores how composites are made and the engineering necessary to harness their amazing properties.
    • Textiles electronics is rapidly evolving within the textile industry in markets such as sports & fitness, health and medical, and military textiles. Participants will be introduced to this exciting field through hands-on development of textiles electronics systems through the use of state of the art materials and integration strategies. As a participant, you will get experience in both cutting-edge electronic design and garment manufacturing.
  • Business Management
    • Students develop a marketing plan and analysis for an apparel company or brand that does not a part of the current target market. Students will develop a new sub-brand or brand in order to successfully target that market.
  • Textile Design
    • Learn how fabrics are designed and created; go home with fabric that you have designed and developed using a weaving, knitting, or digital printing technology.
  • Polymer Chemistry
    • The field of forensics encompasses a wide array of disciplines, each of which is discussed briefly during the week of STEP.  However, the primary goals of this one-week summer program pertain to chemical analytical techniques to identify unknown fibers, polymers, colorless and colored chemicals.  Students have also taken part in a cellulose project to transform insoluble cellulose to cellulose acetate and determine the solubility of your polymer, and other commercial cellulose acetate products.

Every afternoon, students finish their project work and enjoy free-time; including visits to NC State’s University Recreation, SkyZone, shopping and movie night at the Streets of Southpoint, and much more.

 Application materials:
  • Online application
    • Opens on January 1. Closes May 1.
  • Unofficial copy of transcript uploaded to your application

Please note: In response to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wilson College of Textiles will be offering STEP 2021 virtually. The original application deadline of April 1 will now function as a priority deadline, with the application closing on May 1. Students that apply by April 1 will be notified of their admission into the program in early April. Students who apply after the April 1 priority deadline will be notified on a rolling basis through the beginning of May.

The program cost is $150, including materials and virtual access to software needed to complete projects. Students that wish to customize their projects further will need to supply additional materials. Students in need of financial assistance can submit a fee waiver after completing the STEP application.

Your unofficial transcript is required to be uploaded as a part of your application, it should be uploaded as one complete document. Please do not take a picture of your transcript.

If you have any questions please email

Frequently Asked Questions