Philadelphia University fashion design senior Vivian Cooper was awarded the inaugural $35,000 award from a national pool of 600 student designers at the prestigious YMA Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards Dinner in New York.
Marc Mastronardi, executive vice president of business development at Macy’s, announced the unprecedented scholarship for Cooper in front of a packed ballroom of 1,500 fashion industry leaders, educators and students.
“To see the YMA present its first-ever grand prize $35,000 scholarship award to Vivian was an enormously proud moment for Philadelphia University,” said Sheila Connelly, the University’s fashion design program director. “Vivian is the real deal – talented, smart, genuine and kind. She put countless hours into this project, and this extraordinary honor is well deserved.”
Cooper and seven other YMA finalists had to present a project focused on the future of sustainability in the fashion industry. For her case study, Cooper created a private-label junior’s swim and beachwear line made from recycled plastic bottles that could be used to create unique fabrics. The fashion line also would engage communities to support sustainability.
In addition to Cooper, seven other PhilaU students won YMA Fashion Scholarships of $5,000 each in this year’s competition: fashion design students Colton Snavely, Keren Espina, Maria Balestino and Emily DeBernardo and fashion merchandising students Nicole Braun, Zoe Wilson and Maddie Bill, who received the award for the third straight year.
This year, some 600 YMA competitors represented leading collegiate programs in fashion, merchandising and business nationwide. PhilaU students historically have performed well in the YMA scholarship program. Fashion alumni Casey Saccomanno ’08 and Jessica Steele ’09 each won top honors, and Tia Pion ’15 was a finalist. In addition, dozens of PhilaU students have received $5,000 and $10,000 scholarships in recent years.
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