Students Attend Annual WithIt Conference Thanks to $20,000 Grant from AHFA Furniture Foundation

The all expenses-paid trip gave 22 students the opportunity to meet and network with women in the industry.

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2018 WithIt Rising Leaders

WithIt, the women’s leadership development network hosted its annual professional conference in Charleston, SC earlier this summer, welcoming 22 students who received scholarships thanks to a $20,000 grant from the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) Furniture Foundation.

The scholarships for the students from 11 schools and six states funded an all-expenses paid trip to the conference and a student membership in WithIt. Conference participation afforded students the opportunity to meet and network with women from the industry while building upon skills they can use in their pursuit of a career within the industry.

The networking among industry professionals and ability to “meet women who were genuinely invested in helping students was a key benefit,” said Addie Gantt, a student from High Point University. Student Annina Fremgen, from Kendall College of Art & Design, referred to this element of the conference as an “inspiring experience — to learn from and be within reach of so many successful women…and become part of a greater community.” Whether it was a future mentor or employer, Megan Barrett, WithIt’s Scholarship Vice President, reflected “each student was able to connect with a professional during the conference, which is the ultimate goal.”

The conference content and speakers helped unveil “real world information and trends that helped put context to the hard skills I have learned in the classroom,” said Fremgen.

The 2018 recipients and conference attendees included: Christina Brown, The University North Carolina at Greensboro, Interior Architecture; Keying Chen, Kendall College of Art and Design, Furniture Design; Elise Crawford, Appalachian State University, Interior Design; Emily Doll, Randolph Community College, Interior Design; Busola Duroshola, Philadelphia University, Textile Design; Annina Fremgen, Kendall College of Art + Design, Furniture Design; Addison Gantt, High Point University, Visual Merchandising Design; Alyssa Gerasimoff, Rhode Island School of Design, Furniture Design; Mary Campbell Gray, Mississippi State University, Interior Design; Madison Greene, Appalachian State University, Industrial Design/Product Design; Jasmine Gutbrod, Rhode Island School of Design, Furniture Design; Lauren Hopper, Meredith College, Interior Design; Kaitlin Huguley, Mississippi State University, Interior Design/Architecture; Yi-En Lee, New York School of Interior Design, Interior Design; Audrey Mangum, Appalachian State University, Interior Design; Darby Mangum, Appalachian State University, Interior Design; Megan Morrow, Randolph Community College, Interior Design; Ashley Odom, High Point University, Interior Design; Marley Rush, Meredith College, Interior Design; Holly Yao, Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY, Home Products Development.

WithIt began its annual program of bringing Rising Leaders to the professional conference in 2011. Since then, over 115 students have been impacted.

WithIt will host a Student Mentoring Day on Wednesday, Oct. 17. The Mentoring Day program has welcomed over 12,000 sophomore and junior students to market for a half day of round tables and showroom tours.

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