Alumni from West Virginia University’s program in textiles, apparel and merchandising recently traveled to New York City to take part in the yearly Merchandising Study Tour for undergraduate students.

“All students in the program obtain a diverse background in textiles, apparel and merchandising,”said Nora MacDonald, program coordinator and professor in the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences of WVU ’s Davis College.

The study tour is an opportunity to see professional applications for knowledge and techniques gained in the classroom.

The tour took students to retail and distribution centers in New York where WVU grads were eager to share their professional experiences.

Nicole Fields,’01, merchandise analyst, discussed her role within the Ann Taylor Corp. in Midtown. Design director Mary Marino, a former student of the program, and assistant designer Heather Blackwell,’00, were on hand at Alfred Dunner on Broadway. Melanie Cini, a graduating senior in the program, shared the knowledge she gained this past fall as an intern at Saks Fifth Avenue. Liz Blau,’94, a buyer for Burlington Coat Factory, met the students on 34th Street at Kids Headquarters, one of her children’s wear vendors.

Other insights came from Danielle Young,’99, an account executive at Gloria Vanderbilt, Kelly Sanders,’93, an assistant designer at American Eagle Outfitters, and Sara Beth Janney,’02, an assistant designer at the Golden Touch Group.

Cultural opportunities were woven into the tour agenda as well, with trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as seats at”The Lion King,”an award-winning Broadway production for innovative costume design.

“We encourage students to enter student design and research competitions and exhibitions sponsored by industry, professional societies and the University,”McDonald said.”A student organization, the Fashion Business Association, enriches the student experience by bringing working professionals to campus to share their experiences and provides students with opportunities to develop their leadership qualities.”