China Through a Fashion Lens
The students develop a greater understanding of China’s society, Chinese people, Chinese consumers and the country’s apparel industry.
“It is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced — seeing the machinery, the technology, the innovation,” says student Mary
Carol Poxon of her study-abroad program in China. “It’s a big reason I chose UA. Other schools I applied to never offered anything like this. If
anyone asked me, I’d say, ‘you have to go.’”
Since 2014, CHES has offered students the opportunity to take a tour of China focused on the fashion and textile industries. The two-week
program shows students the interconnected components of the textile industry and the influence of cultural differences on international retailing.
The students visit Beijing and Shanghai, where they tour factories, design schools, corporate headquarters, design studios, and major retailers. They also take cultural excursions to historic landmarks — such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City — and attend events such as local cuisine tastings and entertainment.
“The students develop a greater understanding of China’s society, Chinese people, Chinese consumers and the country’s apparel industry,” says Clothing, Textiles & Interior Design Associate Professor Dr. Michelle Tong. “They see China in a more objective way. I think that is the greatest achievement of their experience.”
Tong says the program’s main objectives include understanding the relationship between China and the U.S. in terms of trade in the textile and apparel sectors, increasing awareness and sensitivity to Chinese culture, and heightening awareness of Chinese influence on design.
I’ve used what I learned in the classroom and from teachers and mentors in CHES throughout my career.
UA alumna Lana Koenning’s career has landed her at the largest sports stadium project in the country. The 2016 Jack Davis Award recipient serves as manager of suite member services for the Atlanta Falcons and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a $1.6 billion facility which opened in Atlanta this year.
Koenning’s responsibilities include managing all 200 suites — which are owned by corporations and companies that have signed long-term contracts — and maintaining relationships with clients through contract execution, client services, hospitality, and events. Koenning says her experiences with clients and the resulting relationships are her favorite part of the job. Koenning credits CHES with equipping her with the knowledge and skills she needs in order to succeed in this career.
“I’ve used what I learned in the classroom and from teachers and mentors in CHES throughout my career in professional sports. CHES classes were interactive for me, and I have been able to apply what I learned to my job,” she says. “The CHES professors were more than teachers; they were mentors and friends and have helped motivate and guide me to where I am today.” Koenning, who previously worked with NBA Charlotte Hornets Sports and Entertainment, has some straightforward advice to those striving for similar careers: “Be persistent and always follow up. If you want something, and you’re passionate about it, don’t give up.”
A Hand in History
Hospitality major Lee Bonner had an experience of a lifetime when she interned at the Republican National Convention in the summer semester of 2016. She then was selected to serve on the Presidential Inaugural Committee in December 2016 and January 2017. The committee planned and executed all of the inaugural events, from the Welcome Concert to the inaugural balls on January 20.
For the inauguration, Bonner served as assistant to the director and deputy director for ticketing and invitations and was part of the team that created guest lists for all inaugural events. Her main role was ensuring that the ticketing requests of major donors and VIPs were honored. She also was in charge of planning a breakfast honoring
Florida Governor Rick Scott during inauguration week – “everything from table layout to goody bags,” she says.
“It is such a blessing to be in HES where university experiences are valued,” she says. “My professors are so accommodating. They want me to accomplish my dreams.”
Educating students on what it means to be financially responsible is a priority for HES Consumer Science major, Marla Hogue. Last fall Marla agreed to participate in a new financial literacy initiative through the College of Human Environmental Sciences, which enables first-generation college students to receive peer counseling about financial literacy. Topics covered include debt, student loans, investments, car payments, credit cards vs. debit cards, and budgeting.
“I figured there would be no better way to get involved with financial literacy at The University of Alabama than to work one-on-one with the students,” says Hogue. She counseled one fellow student throughout the fall semester. “My hope for the future of this program,” she says, “is that more students will become willing to educate themselves on what it means to be financially responsible in the present and future.”
This initiative in the College of HES has been generously supported by the Ogie Watkins Endowed Scholarship Fund as well as the Josephine Turner Endowed Fund for Excellence. These endowments have provided scholarship funding for the students participating in this experiential learning opportunity in HES and have enabled us to lay the foundation for this financial literacy initiative.
So Kids Can Be Kids
Dr. Sherwood Burns-Nader started college as a pre-med major, but she was concerned about what she’d do if medical school didn’t work out. Then she discovered the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, particularly the child life emphasis, which merged her interest in medicine with her love of working with children.
Once in the field, she saw the opportunity to add to the research focusing on child life and was inspired to expand the existing knowledge. Today, as an assistant professor in the department and a Certified Child Life Specialist, she studies families with children undergoing medical procedures.
One such procedure is hydrotherapy, an especially painful burn therapy. During the procedure, child life specialists distract the young
patients in hopes of minimizing their feeling of pain. This promising research is the first of its kind.
Her other areas of study include: daily experiences of parents whose child has been diagnosed with cancer, effectiveness of distracting children with a tablet like an iPad during injections, and effects of play and non-play activities on a child’s mood during doctors visits.
It’s the children who inspire Burns-Nader. She says they show incredible resilience. “Even after experiencing hardships and health issues, they still just want to be kids.” The goal of her work is to help them return to a typical life.