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WOW: Women on Women 2013

On Friday, March 8, the FIT Diversity Council will present the second annual WOW: Women on Women, a half-day symposium of inspirational stories, recollections and messages for and about women.

This symposium was designed in response to requests from students who were seeking a forum that would address conditions for women today---particularly within the context of careers in the fields for which they are being educated at FIT. About 85 percent of our students are women. They know that despite important gains in past decades, women continue to lag both in the workplace and in many aspects of our culture. 

Below please find the schedule for the 2013 WOW: Women on Women Symposium held in the John E. Reeves Great Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Below please find the schedule for the 2013 WOW: Women on Women Symposium held in the John E. Reeves Great Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Then join the Museum at FIT at 6:00 p.m. in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre for a lecture by Evie Evangelou, CEO and Co-founder of the United Nations Fashion 4 Development initiative. Its goals are to empower women, provide them with sustainable opportunities in fashion, while preserving their heritage. 

11:45  a.m. Sara Petitt, Fabric Styling "Changes In The Workplace"
12:05 p.m. Carmita Sanchez-Fong, Interior Design "Service Through Design" 
12:25 p.m. Yasemin Levine, Social Sciences "The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination"
12:45 p.m. Isabella Bertoletti, Foreign Languages "Women Poets of The Renaissance" 
1:05 p.m. Melanie Reim, Illustration "Another Woman's Life"
1:25  p.m. Robin Sackin, Fashion Merchandising Marketing "Twenty Years In Twenty Minutes"
1:45  p.m. Helene Verin, Career and Internship "Beth Levine Shoes"
2:05  p.m. Shawn Carter, Fashion Merchandising Marketing "Women In Industry Today" 
2:25 p.m. Rosa Maria Smith, Social Sciences "A Woman's Mandate"
2:45 p.m. Deborah Klesenski, Academic Affairs "A Nobody in Particular Girl: Success Story"
3:05  p.m. Lori Massaro, Fashion Merchandising Marketing "Working Mothers- The Past, The Present, and the Future-Can We Really Have It All?"
3:25  p.m. Jada Schumacher, Communication Design "Hold Me, Touch Me, Use Me:The Poetic Play of Contemporary Women Furniture Designers"
3:45  p.m. Chloe Chapin, Fashion Design "What Does Fashion Teach Women About Femininity?" 
4:05  p.m. Deanna Clark, International Trade and Marketing "Women As Professionals: Having An Executive Presence"
4:25 p.m. Daniel Levinson Wilk, American History "Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire"
 6:00 p.m.  Evie Evangelou, F4D - Fashion 4 Development

 "Giving Back is the New Luxury"

Please note: this event will take place in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. Please visit the Museum at FIT for more information.

Isabella Bertoletti is an associate professor of Italian at FIT. She was educated in Italy and at the Graduate Center in NY, where she received a PhD in Comparative Literature. She has published scholarly essays on medieval Italian literature, Petrarch and Petrarchism, Italian film, psychoanalysis, the history of the Italian language and Italian feminism, as well as articles for Soma magazine on J. Genet, Hitchcock, Renaissance Fashion, the Olympics, and Carlos Gardel. She has translated works by the Italian political philosophers Paolo Virno and Antonio Negri into English (MIT Press) and is a member of International Pen.

Shawn Grain Carter is an associate professor. Her career began as an executive at Bloomingdale's. In 1986 she launched Bergdorf Goodman's Home Furnishings Division The Home on Seven. Years later she joined Ann Taylor Stores as a buyer of Dresses, Sportswear, and Accessories until 1991, when she gave birth and took time off to be a mother. Subsequently, she became merchandising director at a European luxury brand MCM. Her responsibilities included marketing for Canada, the United States and Japan. In 1997, Macy's hired her to launch their website Her responsibilities included Designer Sportswear, including Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. Professor Carter was selected as a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, England in 2004. Ms. Carter received her bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia. She serves on the Board of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and received the Jack and Jill of America Distinguished Mother of the Year Award.

Yasemin Celik Levine is an associate professor of Political Science and chair of the Social Sciences Department. She has a PhD in Political Science from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her dissertation was on Turkish Foreign Policy in the aftermath of the Cold War. She has a bachelor's degree in Economics from Franklin and Marshall College and a master's in Economics from Boston University. Yasemin has done extensive research on women's rights, particularly on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Although Yasemin considers herself a true New Yorker, she was born in Ankara, Turkey and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya.

Chloe Chapin is an artist and scholar interested in how style is linked to changing interpretations of character, and the affect it has on personal identity. Trained as a costume designer, she has designed costumes on and off Broadway, for regional theater and opera companies across America, and with experimental theater and dance companies in NYC. Chapin holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and is currently an MA candidate at FIT in Fashion & Textile Studies. She has taught fashion history at FIT since 2006, and is also on the faculty at Parsons The New School of Design. Chapin believes that by examining how clothing and fashion have developed simultaneously throughout history and across cultures, we can better understand the value and importance of clothing, society's need for visual messages, and why we must look closer at those messages today.

Deanna Clark, Esq. is an adjunct professor in FIT's International Trade and Marketing Dept. and a Senior International Trade and Fashion Compliance attorney at Shayne Law Group. She hosts Fashion Compliance an educational program on fashion law, and writes a blog called International Trade for Everyday People. She serves as vice-president of the Organization of Women in International Trade NY Chapter and as an advisory board member of Africa Fashion Week. Deanna received her JD from Tulane Law School, an MA in Diplomatic Studies from the University of Malta's Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, and her BA in Peace & Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley. You can follow her on Twitter @fashcompliance or at the Fashion Compliance page on Facebook.

Deborah Klesenski is the acting special assistant to the vice president for Academic Affairs at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She began her career in commercial photography in 1985, and has worked on freelance editorial assignments for Vogue and Bon Appetit magazines, as well as advertising photography for Olympus, OXO, and Colgate Palmolive brands. She chaired the Photography Dept. at FIT from 2004 2010, is one of the authors of the BFA program (Photography and the Digital Image) that enrolled its first class in Fall 2005, and chaired the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) 2012 Self-Study and Reaccreditation Committee at FIT.

Lori Massaro has been a full-time professor at FIT since 2000 and has more than 25 years of fashion industry experience. She worked for major retailers and manufacturers, including Polo Ralph Lauren and Winer Industries. A sought-after educator, she authored FIT's curriculum and workbook for Computer Aided Product Development, incorporating WebPDM, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop. In addition, she has authored several WebPDM and Adobe Illustrator training manuals along with the training courses for major fashion corporations ( Macy's, Polo Ralph Lauren, Marc Echo, and Target Corp.). She holds a MPS degree from FIT and a BA from New York University.

As a working mother of four children between the ages of six and nineteen years, Lori juggles a busy career while car-pooling teenagers, serving on the PTA board, and chairing numerous community fundraisers.

Sara Petitt has taught at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, Parsons School of Design and for the last 15 years has been the coordinator of the BFA Fabric Styling Program at FIT. Ms. Petitt studied Fine Arts at Bennington College and became a Textile Designer. After working free-lance for many years she became a stylist/design director at many major companies, including JP Stevens and Westpoint Pepperal. She was the winning candidate in the ROSCOE design competition and won the First prize for a line of towels from Cotton Incorporated. In addition to her commercial work she is an artist member of the Carter Burden Gallery in Chelsea, where her photographs are on view.

Ms. Petitt is old enough to have seen many changes in the work place and has seen the ceiling lifted for women, even though it can still stand room for improvement.

Melanie Reim, Chair, MFA in Illustration, is an award-winning illustrator with a sketchbook never far from her side. Her expertise for drawing on location has taken her on assignments around the world. Her documentary work is part of the U.S. Air Force Art Collection in the Pentagon, and she is featured in several books about drawing and illustration, including the just published, An Illustrated Journey by Danny Gregory. Her work has appeared in many exhibitions, including her solo show, Another Woman's Life. Reim is a 2006 Fulbright Scholar, received a 2011 SUNY Chancellor Award and a 2012 FIT Presidents award. Reim is Education Chair, Board of Directors, Society of Illustrators and Volunteer Chair for ICON Illustration Conference for the third consecutive conference. Her reportage work can be seen at

Robin Sackin has been at FIT for more than twenty years. She has held many leadership positions at the college. She was the chair of the Fashion Merchandising Management Department, the acting dean of the Baker School of Business and Technology, and the president of the Faculty Senate. Professor Sackin's greatest joy at FIT is mentoring students and giving them advice on how to succeed in today's global world of fashion. Professor Sackin is also on the board of governors for the YMA Scholarship fund, a non-profit organization whose board of governors include key executives from the industry.

Carmita Sanchez-Fong is associate professor in the Interior Design Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She teaches face-to-face, blended and online; and is the coordinator of the technical and computer courses in her department. She has presented workshops and seminars for the CET, the TDT, and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She has chaired the Interior Design Departments accreditation team and has served as academic program reviewer for Nassau Community Colleges Interior Design Program. In collaboration with the Interior Design Club she created the Interior Design Relief Project which has been helping the families in Long Beach devastated by Hurricane Sandy. She believes in making a difference through community service and is currently volunteering with Hope for New York, The Palisades Public Library, and the Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction in New York.

Jada Schumacher is the founding director of the design company Design Orange and an associate professor of Communication Design at FIT. She has a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. She lectures on color and design around the globe - from El Salvador to Hungary - and exhibits at contemporary art venues.

The Design Orange studio creates sustainable product collections for home and baby. With sassy cocktail lingo coasters, baby burping cloths inspired by global fountains, and disaster etiquette cards, the studio's quirky items celebrate life's subtle humor and the exquisite joys of the everyday.

Rosa Maria Smith is the department coordinator of the Social Sciences Department at FIT. She is the mother of six children and the grandmother of five. Rosa Maria grew up in the South Bronx, a place where crime was the major source of income. As a young Dominican immigrant, she encountered the hopelessness of living in the South Bronx. Through education and perseverance, she was able to move out and in the spirit of her mother, who came to the U.S. to provide a better life for her five children, provide a better life for her children.

Helene Verin is an award-winning designer of shoes, wallpaper, rugs, pillows and tiles. Ms. Verin's work has been featured in The New York Times, HG,Vogue,Elle Decor, Interview, among many other publications. Her designs can also be found in numerous books including Shoes by Linda OKeefe, Bedrooms by Chris Casson Madden, and Color Palettes by Donald Kauffman. She authored Beth Levine Shoes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and curated a traveling exhibition, which launched in the Dutch Shoe Museum in Waalwijk and culminated at the Bellevue Arts Museum near Seattle. Her collection includes an exhaustive archive and 180 pair of Levine shoes.