Columbia Alums Meet With Students at NRF 2023 in New York City

Columbia College Chicago alums working in fashion, advertising, PR, and marketing communication share their experiences and insights with current students

What do you get when you put together Columbia alums, students, and faculty in one New York City space during “NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show”? Something incredibly special and valuable, according to those who gathered on Jan. 12 to meet, learn, and network. 

“The alumni event was incredibly eye opening because I could see myself in many of their shoes and it made me hopeful and excited for my career, seeing how successful and passionate they are about working in fashion,” says senior Miranda Prater, who is majoring in Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Marketing. 

Chapter 2, an agency dedicated to supporting talented young creatives and driving growth in promising brands, provided the perfect venue for the event. Hosted by alums Julia Jones ’18, and Bryant Von Woodson II ’18, who both work at Chapter 2 Agency, the gathering offered an opportunity for Fashion Studies and Communication students to connect with alums working in fashion design, retail, merchandising, marketing, public relations, social media, and finance. Two alums were even Project Runway designers (Aaron Myers ’16 and Alexander Knox ’15).

“The purpose of the meeting was to learn a bit more about the many career paths after graduation and what life is like in New York City as well as to get advice for current students and just have some networking fun,” says Peg Murphy, associate chair and associate professor in Communication. She and Dana Connell, director of scholarship initiatives and associate professor in Fashion Studies, and Kate Schaefer, assistant professor of instruction In Fashion Studies, helped organize the event. 

Columbia brought the students to New York for a variety of reasons. Some students came as part of their class “Fashion in the Field: NYC,” taught by Connell and faculty member Kate Schaefer. Others came to participate in and be recognized at the 2023 NRF Student Program and the NRF Honors gala as scholarship winners and semi-finalists in NRF Foundation competitions.

The alums at the meeting represented a breadth of expertise and offered a wealth of connections, having worked at or worked with companies such as Coach, Talbots, ANN TAYLOR, Walmart, Forbes Magazine, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and JP Morgan Chase as well as New York PR and advertising agencies.

Students walked away with names, faces, and contact information for a network of alums who provided everything from career advice to tips on how to find an apartment in New York.

Senior Juan Osorio, an Advertising major, appreciated the advice he received at the event from alums as he readies himself to take the next step in his professional life. “This event helped us learn from personal experiences about how it is to work in the industry,” says Osorio.

But students weren’t the only ones who benefited from the occasion: Alums did as well.

This is really special,” says alum Bryant Von Woodson II ’18. “It re-energizes me and reminds me of the journey."

Columbia College Chicago would like to thank the alums who made this event so special for our students
Sinclaire Fonville ’16 (Marketing Communication; Fashion Studies
Brand Partnerships, Forbes 
Colleen McDunn ’10 (Marketing Communication-Advertising
Social Media Copywriter, WalMart 
Kate Jacobsen ’11 (Fashion Business; Public Relations)  
Executive Director, PR Consulting  
Reese Kasich ’22 (Fashion Business and Entrepreneurship; Social Media and Digital Strategy
Account Executive, Private Equity Team at Joele Frank  
Alexander Knox ’15 (Fashion/Apparel Design
Designer- Women’s RTW Pre-Collection, Coach 
Hannah Linder ’16 (Fashion Studies
Associate Designer, Talbots 
Karli Mittel ’18 (Advertising; Fashion Business)  
Account Director, GrandArmy 
Aaron Myers ‘16 (Fashion Design
Global Trend, Concept and Design Manager, Bed Bath and Beyond 
Sarah Robards ‘15 (Fashion Business
Manager, Location Planning & Allocation, LOFT 
Amaiya Sims BA ‘21, MA ’22 (Fashion Studies; Business Entrepreneurship
Fashion Stylist and CEO of Amaiya's Atelier  
Amit Shah ’19 (Fashion Merchandising)  
Director of Public Relations at āve India Design Collective NYC 
Julie Trieschman ’14 (Marketing Communication-Advertising
Vice President, Brand and Marketing Lead, JPMorgan Chase 
Molly Quinn ’19 (Fashion/Apparel Design
Associate Designer, H.I.S. International  
Arion Wheeler ‘21 (Fashion Merchandising
Allocation Analyst, Citi Trends

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