URI’s Spring Splash celebrates connection with Italy

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Fashion event raises $45,000, puts student designers in spotlight

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 7, 2008 – To the beat of contemporary Italian music, models paraded around the audience in the Memorial Union Ballroom showing off the best creations of the University of Rhode Island Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design students.

While 14 student designers showed off their work at the fifth annual “Spring Splash” event held recently on the Kingston Campus, they also helped raise $45,000 for the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design.

“We definitely raised more money this year thanks to our sponsors, great turnout and our students,” said Associate Professor Susan Hannel, who works closely with the students through her flat pattern, drapery and computer assisted design courses.

“The funds will be used for student scholarships, activities and equipment that improve the department,” Hannel said. “For instance, we were able to take students to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts the ‘Fashion Show: Paris Collections 2006’. We’ll also be buying new classroom equipment and stage materials for the 2009 show.”

The show, which was titled, “Bella Moda,” celebrated the department’s connection to Italy. In the fall of 2006, it launched an initiative encouraging students to declare a second major in a “fashion” language, either French or Italian.

Five students are enrolled in the textiles and Italian dual degree program. Three others are completing minors in Italian and this semester, a record 16 students studied in Florence.

“Our students are doing some incredible work, and it was apparent in the 51 different garments modeled at the show to great applause,” Hannel said.

The students were judged on their designs and were eligible for cash prizes. The winners are:

• First Place, Chelsea Carson, $1,000, graduating senior from Huntington, N.Y.

•Second, Katherine Imswiler, $750, junior from Cumberland. She also won the Audience Favorite Award, $250.

•Third, Jennifer Robinson, $500, junior from Cranston.

•Honorable Mention, Julie DeFuria, $250, graduating senior from North Grafton, Mass.

•Honorable Mention, Emily Pascoe, $250, freshman from Forked River, N.J.

Major sponsors of the Spring Splash were: Blue Holdings Inc., Glenn and Jaroslava Palmer, the TJX Cos. and numerous other companies.

Recipients of a variety of scholarships were also announced that night. From Spring Splash proceeds, the Textile Advisory Board awarded four, $1,000 scholarships to textiles majors who demonstrated scholarly achievement and financial need. The TJX Foundation also funded two scholarships, and two textiles alumni donated $500 to aide a deserving student. Cranston Print Works funds a $500 scholarship and the Linda Welters Study Abroad Scholarship provides $500 for a qualified Rhode Island resident.

The scholarships and the recipients are:

Spring Splash

• Michaela Kiley, of Hope Valley, a sophomore who hopes to start her own fashion line after her graduation in 2010.

• Stephanie Nash of Southington, Conn., a sophomore who has gained retail experience at the Lands’ End Shop at Sears Roebuck and Co., and at Marshall’s a division of TJX Corp.

• Stephanie Romano of West Caldwell, N.J., is a sophomore minoring in journalism and art. Romano is pursuing an accelerated program to graduate in three years.

• Jasmine Souza of Woonsocket, a former journalism major, the junior plans to work in fashion design after graduation.

TJX Foundation

• Jacki Floyd of Lenox, Mass. is a sophomore and member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and URI’s equestrian team.

• Kelly Oliveira of Providence, is the first member of her family to attend college. Drawing fashion designs since she was a child, the sophomore hopes to open a store that caters to the needs of uniquely shaped women.

• Leora Tanzer, a sophomore, of Upper Saddle River, N.J. Last semester, her team created a fashion illustration of a boy’s eco-friendly outfit that was selected to illustrate the department’s sustainability website.

Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design Alumni Scholarship

• Stephanie Pati of Warwick, is a junior in the program. She works 25 hours per week as a waitress and will be the first in her family to earn a college degree.

Cranston Print Works Scholarship

• Ashley Sayers of Butler, N.J., is a sophomore textiles and Italian double-major. This summer, she will be interning with a watch and jewelry buyer at Gucci in New York City.

Linda Welters Study Abroad Scholarship

Shannon Enander of Manville, Rhode Island, is a sophomore concentrating on fashion design and theatrical costuming. She will study in Florence, Italy in the spring of 2009.