2016 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Winner: Megan Donovan, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Graduation: May 2016

Major: Retailing and Consumer Behavior

Where are you from? I’m originally from St. Paul, Minnesota.

How did you become interested in retail and pursuing a career in fashion merchandising?  I first fell in love with retail when I worked as a buyer and planner for my own store in high school, introducing me to all aspects of retail.  My experiences in and out of the classroom at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have exposed me to many different facets of the retailing and fashion industry, from retail financial analysis and advanced consumer analytics to trend tracking and forecasting on a 3-week trip through Europe.

What are some of the activities you are involved with on campus? I am very active on campus, working for the Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence, serving as a teaching assistant for a high-level retailing course that focuses on the design thinking process, and interning for the Department of Athletics. I also participate in case competitions and attends various industry tradeshows, such as MAGIC in Las Vegas and Retail’s BIG Show in New York, which have solidified my passion for the retail and fashion industry.

How do you enjoy spending your free time? I enjoy watching hockey with my family and listening to my vinyl collection.

Where do you hope to see yourself after graduation in May? I hope to work in the high-fashion industry on the East Coast!

2016 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Winner: Erin Ceconi, Pratt



Where are you from? Ridgefield, Connecticut

How did you become interested in pursuing a career in fashion design? Art, for me, was as unavoidable as walking into my kitchen to the warm aroma of morning coffee. Growing up in Ridgefield, Connecticut with two artists as parents, I could not turn a corner in my house without viewing a collage, woodblock, or painting. Wanting to understand how slivers of lines, shapes and colors combined to form these images, I began mark-making with any material I could lay my hands upon.

Lines and colors, solely explored on paper, were pulled into reality by three-dimensional sculpture, which quickly became my medium of choice. Fashion design was a natural progression; I found these sculptures moved on the human form.

In what ways have your studies at Pratt refined and influenced your skills as a designer? My time at Pratt has allowed me to develop as a designer. Exploring sustainable design and active-wear, I worked with custom prints in tech fabrics. Conversely, I have constructed conceptual sculptural pieces. My interests lies in finding the point where art and functionality blur, a combination of fabric and design that work for the wearer, without sacrificing aesthetic appeal.

2016 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Winner: Aya Mechelany, Parsons

Major: Design and Management

Graduation: May 2016

Where are you from? I am originally from Beirut, Lebanon.  I grew up between Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland.

What drew you to pursuing a career in fashion? Early on, I [became] passionate [about] strategy, marketing, and management in the business of fashion. My favorite [aspects of the industry] include teamwork, research, and design thinking. Coming from an economics and sciences background, I have acquired excellent quantitative and qualitative analytical skills and a good affinity for numbers, which I believe are essential for a successful career.

After graduation, where do you hope to see yourself working? After graduation, I intend to work in fashion branding, merchandising or retailing in Paris, Milan, London, or New York City.

2016 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Winner: Jessica Ferreira, SCAD


Major: Fashion Design

Graduation: May 2016

Where are you from?  My hometown is Chapel Hill, NC

 What sparked your interest in fashion design?  I became passionate in the arts ever since I was a young girl. I was exposed to it at such a young age, especially from the visits I took with my family to see my grandmother in Lebanon. She was highly skilled in embroidery, lacemaking, beading, sewing, and pattern making which inspired me to pursue fashion design as a major at SCAD. Her way of creating and designing has impacted me in the arts.

My mother’s side of the family was also keen on sustainability through repurposing and reusing household items and converting them into a new valuable item. Much of this same process has become a major part in the way I design and look at the fashion industry today. My internships in NYC have caused me to look at the industry differently, in terms of bettering our future with sustainability and limiting production overseas. I feel motivated and responsible to make a difference when it comes to design, manufacture, and production in fashion design.


Outside of fashion, what are you other interests and passions? During my free time I enjoy listening to French music and oil painting. I think if didn’t choose fashion design as a career, I would have gone into fine arts. Since I came to SCAD, I began collecting hats from different places I visit. It has become one of my favorite hobbies when I travel out of town with my family and friends.

Where do you see yourself after graduating SCAD in May?  After graduation, I see myself going to LA and starting out as a design assistant for Reformation. California has stricter laws with its sustainability practices which I admire and would like to be a part of after graduating SCAD. I chose Reformation as the company for the case study for the Geoffrey Beene YMA scholarship and I have become truly passionate for the brand’s aesthetic, mission, sustainability practices, and ways of reaching out to their customers. I strongly believe they can be the future for our polluting industry. There is a lot of change happening in the industry right now which makes me excited to see where we are heading with sustainability practices in manufacturing, specifically 3D printing. 


2016 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Winner: Aubry Stitt, University of Arizona

Major: Retailing and Consumer Sciences

Graduation: May 2016

What drew you to pursuing a career in fashion? My interest in fashion began in high school when I took a fashion merchandising course through the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, AZ. This course immersed me in the business of fashion as well as the design and construction of garments. My experience here launched me to pursue my current study of retailing, and contributing my sewing skills to our costume department at the university.

Fashion aside, how do you enjoy spending your free time?  Outside of my studies, I enjoy being active and spending time outdoors running, hiking, or camping. I also enjoy traveling and would love spend more time abroad, whether in my career or on my own time.

Where do you hope to see yourself after graduation in May? After graduation, I would love to find a career that will blend both the analytical and creative sides of my education!

2016 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Winner: Eric Beaudette, Cornell University

Major: Fiber Science and Apparel Design

Graduation: May 2016

Where are you from? What sparked your interest in pursuing a career in fashion? I am originally from Hollis, New Hampshire.  While attending Hebron Academy, a boarding school in Maine, I became avidly interested in the fashion industry.   I took independent studies and tailored my 3D AP Art portfolio to explore apparel design, concluding with the design and construction of a wedding dress inspired by advanced math.

How have you developed and refined your design skills at Cornell? During freshman year, I began exploring new technologies and discovered my passion for functional apparel. I began developing my skill sets in both science and design. I joined a performance apparel research lab during my freshman year, and started learning how to use the cutting-edge facilities that the department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design offers. Sophomore year, I paired with a graduate student in Fiber Science to co-found Cornell Wearable Tech, a project team that annually showcases a collection of high tech garments in the department’s yearly fashion show. Our project team has made partnerships with companies that produce developing innovative lighting technologies to be applied in wearable technology. I have taken advantage of every opportunity to gain practical experience in functional apparel design and smart garment development during my undergraduate career.

In what way do you hope to make an impact on the future of fashion? After graduation, I hope to make my mark on the fashion industry by pioneering a new era of wearable technology. I hope to explore my passions of science and design side-by-side as I pursue the next stage in my professional development, either through graduate school or industry experience.  

2016 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Winnert: Avani Patel, University of Texas at Austin

Major: Textiles-Apparel Design, Finance and Business Honors

Graduation: May 2016

Where are you from?  I am originally from Sugar Land, Texas.  I spent my summers in New York interning for Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta, and Bibhu Mohapatra, as well as in London studying abroad at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design and The London School of Economics and Political Science.

What drew you to pursuing a career in fashion? I have always been attracted to fashion for its mix of texture, color, embellishment, and self expression. I find analyzing fashion business models challenging and hope to one day become a social and environmental fashion entrepreneur, Fashion Director, or Senior VP of Merchandising and Production.  

As a senior at UT Austin, what does your schedule look like in terms of coursework and extracurricular activities?  My coursework and extracurricular studies include working as Head of Show Production in University Fashion Group to produce the school fashion show, showing my collection in the spring as a senior designer, and taking experiential courses with Neiman Marcus and Nike.

What are some of your favorite fashion brands? My favorites include Giambattista Valli, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Christian Dior.

After graduating in May, where do you see yourself?  I look forward to working with retail and luxury clients in marketing & sales, pricing, and strategy.  I hope to search for ways to make an impact in this world through social and environmental causes.

2016 Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Winner: Daniela Gallo McCausland, Washington University

Major: Finance & Economics

Graduation: May 2016

Where are you from? I was born in Cali, Colombia and raised in Panama City, Panama

Why did you choose a career in fashion? I have been fascinated by fashion for as long as I can remember, but my interests within the industry have evolved as I´ve grown up, moved countries and studied business.

When I was younger and living in Colombia, I discovered fashion as a reflection of my country’s history and I always paid attention to what my mother and those around me wore. The bright colors and intricate fabrics from the Atlantic cities or small towns like Nariño developed my visual and aesthetic interests. Now, as a student at Washington University in St. Louis, I am strongly motivated by the business-side of the industry, which I have been able to explore throughout my classes and the FSF and Geoffrey Beene Scholarships. I am curious to learn more about all the different components of the industry and hope to one day lead a company and have a hand in all of its departments.

What are other interests outside of fashion?  Outside of school, I enjoy reading in both English and Spanish, watching standup comedy and spending time with my new puppy, Lucas. I also love to cook and bake with my friends and travel and explore new cities with my family.

Where do you see yourself after graduation? After graduation, I hope to work in a company that will continuously offer me opportunities to face challenges and learn. More specifically, I would like to work in a merchandising role that will leverage and further develop both my analytical and creative skills.