Sophomore Wins Prestigious National Scholarship


For a while, Erin Robertson thought she wanted to be a dentist. She was working as a dental assistant at Harvard when she realized she should be working in a field she really loved - fashion. Erin's materials for the CDFA Scholarship competition

Her passion has been recognized in a most outstanding way. Erin, a sophomore fashion and fibers double major, has been awarded a $25,000 scholarship from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Teen Vogue, and Target. She said the money would be hugely appreciated.  

"What I think is so great about this is that, for me, $5,000 a semester is literally tuition," she said. "At other places that's not so much."   

The scholarship application process was fairly straightforward: sketch a collection of at least 10 looks, make a mood board, and write an essay.  But Erin went beyond all that. She added handmade textile samples and fashion plates developed in MassArt's Fashion Illustration course. She included concepts for the hairstyles, makeup, bags, and shoes to go with her designs. She laser etched the box that carried it all.

"I really thought about the presentation a lot. A huge reason why I won is because every little detail was in there. For example, I made a paperclip out of copper wire to be in the shape of a honeycomb," she said.

She was also guided through the application process by assistant professor James Mason. He said the scholarship competition has been an extraordinary opportunity for sophomores.

"We had many initial submissions, and it was difficult to choose the three that would represent MassArt. Each of them exhibited the breadth of creativity on the sophomore level, and Erin represents the best of all sophomores in this nationwide competition," he said.

In addition to receiving $5,000 over five semesters, Erin will also be recognized at the CFDA awards ceremony, along with the designers like Diane von Furstenburg, who heads the organization. She will spend a day at Target headquarters, working with their design team. And, finally, she will be featured in an issue of Teen Vogue.

While there are many perks for her, Erin also thinks that she got something intangible from the process.

"Doing this scholarship made me push myself in so many more ways. I know what it means to me and why I want to do it, but I definitely found what I wanted to do because of applying for the scholarship. I know the specific style of women's ready-to-wear I will design," she said.