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YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund: A Look at Katherine Kykta's Experience

The Youth Mentoring Association Fashion Scholarship Fund (YMA FSF) strives "to advance the fashion industry by encouraging gifted and enterprising young people to pursue careers in design, merchandising, retailing and business..." (YMA FSF) through a case study based competition along with both mentorship and internship programs. One of the young people supported by the YMA is TXA senior, Katherine Kykta. Katherine is a Merchandising and Consumer Sciences major currently completing her senior capstone internship at Fossil in Dallas. After hearing about the unique opportunities YMA FSF provides to students, Katherine applied and was chosen as a Fashion Scholarship Fund recipient her junior year at UT. By winning the Fashion Scholarship Fund, she was awarded $5,000 in scholarship and given access to exclusive networking events such as the Internship Fair at the YMA FSF Awards Gala that is thrown to honor the student winners and notable leaders in the fashion industry. 

After winning the YMA FSF, Katherine was then eligible to apply for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship. Of the forty-two eligible National Merit Scholarship applicants, Katherine was one of the eight chosen as a National Merit Finalist. She was then flown to New York City where she presented her case study to the YMA Executive Committee at the Global Brands Group office in the famous Empire State Building. At the annual YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Awards Gala in New York City this January, Katherine came in 2nd place nationally for the National Merit Scholarship, earning a $30,000 scholarship and additional opportunities within the fashion industry. 

While the $35,000 in scholarship Katherine has been awarded is quite beneficial, she says it is the opportunities and community that YMA offers that makes it worthwhile. She says that, "YMA really shaped my junior and senior years of college. It gave me so many more opportunities I would never have had". One of these opportunities was a summer internship at Nautica's New York City offices during the summer of 2017. Outside of her internship, Katherine was able to build a community over a thousand miles away from her home in Texas by participating in YMA's summer events in NYC for YMA FSF winners, alumni, and member supporter companies. These programs included visits to the Instagram, Macy's and BCBG offices and meeting with some of their executives. One of the most recent opportunities she's been given by being a National Merit Scholarship finalist is getting flown to Madrid, Spain this April to attend the World Retail Congress on behalf of YMA. 

When asked what she would change about her YMA experience, Katherine was quick to remark that she "wishes she'd taken more time and told everyone in TXA to apply". She says being a part of the YMA community allowed her to "take <her> future to the next step" and having YMA on her resume has made a significant impact and wants everyone to be able to have the same kind of opportunities she's had. In terms of advice to other TXA students, she recommends taking every opportunity that's given to you, seeking opportunity out, and staying in touch with the people you connect with. 

Katherine is not alone in her appreciation for the opportunities YMA provides. 2018 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund recipients Becky Phung, Andie Kent, Arden Frank, Donna Silverio, and Veronica Lozano were provided with several of these opportunities Katherine spoke to. Arden Frank remarks, "the opportunity to network with leaders of the fashion industry was an experience I never could have imagined. After the YMA FSF Gala, I left New York with more ambition, connections, and excitement for other summer networking events". Stay on the lookout for the YMA Info Session coming the first week of March.