2022 Sustainability Awareness Week Presenters and Panelists
Dr. Joyce F. Brown
Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT since 1998, is a highly regarded educator and
academic administrator with over forty years’ experience in public higher education.
She held a number of senior administrative posts at the City University of New York
(CUNY) before arriving at FIT, including acting president of Bernard Baruch College
and vice chancellor of the university. Prior to her appointment at FIT, she was professor
of counseling psychology at the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY. Dr.
Brown has also served as a New York City deputy mayor during the Dinkins administration.
At FIT, Dr. Brown has led an ambitious multiyear strategic initiative that has transformed
the college. She has built faculty ranks, increased technology, enhanced student services,
expanded the curriculum with innovative new programs, and renovated facilities. She
has invigorated the college’s culture with groundbreaking initiatives in diversity
and sustainability. Under Dr. Brown’s leadership, sustainability became a key element
of FIT’s mission. Her early participation in the Clinton Global Initiative University
formalized a commitment to sustainability that was reflected in the college’s physical
plant, curriculum, and public programming. She established a Sustainability Council
that promotes dialogue, campuswide activities—including the annual Sustainability
Business and Design Conference—and manages grant programs for related projects. FIT
has been honored by both New York City and New York State for its leadership among
public institutions in the field of sustainability.
Remake is a global advocacy organization fighting for fair pay and climate justice
in the clothing industry. Remake's education and advocacy efforts mobilize citizens,
policymakers, investors, and press to create a more just, transparent, and accountable
apparel industry. Barenblat brings over 15 years of leadership, having worked across
the public, private, and civil society sectors to promote social justice and sustainability
within the apparel sector. Prior to founding Remake, she led brand engagement at Better
Work, a World Bank and United Nations partnership, to ensure safe and decent working
conditions in garment factories around the world.
She has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
FIT student, Fashion Design
Idil Bayik is a sixth-semester Fashion Design student from Turkey, with a concentration
in knitwear and a minor in Ethics and Sustainability. Bayik is passionate about biodesign
and materials science and is a member of FIT’s Sustainability Council. She also participates
in the FIT x Genspace Scholars program.
Fashion Design BFA ‘24
Bhavnagri, whose hometown is New Cairo City, Egypt, is a resident assistant, and she
serves on the International Programs Student Advisory Committee.
Spatial Experience Design ‘24
Abby Caimano is currently in their fifth semester at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
They are majoring in Spatial Experience Design with a minor in Ethics and Sustainability.
They are also a senator in the school’s Student Government Association and work as
an orientation leader. Outside of school and work, Caimano is very active in the theatre
community and has interests in exploring nature and making art with friends.
Associate Professor, Fashion Business Management, Fashion Institute of Technology
Ann Cantrell is an associate professor in the Fashion Business Management Department
at FIT, with a focus on sustainability. On campus she is an advisor to the Ethics
and Sustainability minor as well as the Style Shop and a member of the President's
Council on Sustainability. In the fashion industry, Ann's focus was on planning and
then product development at companies such as Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and Coach.
With an (S)MBA and a focus on both environmental and economic sustainability, Ann
has also been a shop owner for the past fourteen years in Brooklyn, New York. Her
store, Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store, is a community staple in Park Slope.
Technologist, Spatial Experience Design
Ceraso is the lead technologist working with the Spatial Experience Design program.
He has a deep history of knowledge in the fields of sculpture and woodworking and
currently helps students with their installations and display work. He has also been
teaching furniture making through FIT’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies
for over seven years.
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Textile Development and Marketing
Whitney Crutchfield is an adjunct assistant professor in FIT’s Textile Development
and Marketing department and an adjunct instructor in the Textile/Surface Design department,
serving the FIT community since 2016. Her expertise lies in woven textiles and textile
dyeing techniques, with a particular emphasis on low-impact methods and materials.
Crutchfield is the founder and owner of We Gather, an educational textile studio in
Brooklyn. She previously held positions at American Eagle and Martha Stewart Living.
International Trade and Marketing BS ’23
From Iqaluit, Canada, Devereaux is the senator for International Trade and Marketing,
president of ITSA Club, and founder of the Iqaluit Dance Academy, a nonprofit dance
academy in the arctic.
Textile Development and Marketing ’23
Rebecca Dillenberger is a senior in FIT’s Textile Development and Marketing program.
Her interests are in climate action and the intersection of science and art, with
a focus on fiber systems, textile ecology, and stewardship. Dillenberger is FIT’s
AATCC Student Chapter president and a member of the Student Government Association's
Sustainability Committee, and she has experience in technical color theory through
her internship as a senior colorist assistant.
Andrea Diodati is an award-winning fashion designer and entrepreneur. After seeing
the wasteful nature of her wholesale fashion line, Diodati created a direct-to-consumer
brand that used 3D modeling to facilitate customer collaboration. Users could co-design
dresses that were custom-made in New York City using deadstock fabric. Diodati’s industry
experience includes designing runway for Anna Sui, as well as freelancing for Kate
Spade and Alice + Olivia. Presently, Diodati is interested in how digital fashion
can replace single use garment consumption.
Adjunct Professor, Fashion Business Management
Faces and Places in Fashion is taught by Caroline Gordon, who has been an adjunct
professor at FIT since 2018, teaching in both the schools of Business and Technology
and Art and Design. Gordon has worked in the fashion industry in New York City for
16 years across multiple American brands, including Ralph Lauren and Ann Taylor. She
has experience in women’s wear and children's wear, with a focus on buying and wholesale
Adjunct Associate Professor, Film, Media and Performing Arts
Grotell teaches Screenwriting and Directing the Actor at FIT. He received his MFA
from Columbia University School of the Arts and has taught at University of Southern
Illinois, Franklin and Marshall College, Northeastern University, and the University
of Alabama. Grotell has written, directed, and produced more than a dozen short films
and written 10 feature films. His films have screened in competition at the Sundance
Film Festival as well as at other national and international film festivals.
Executive Director, Media and Event Technology Services
Hoar is head of FIT’s media services department. Prior to that, he worked within major
organizations in the health care, hospitality, retail, and broadcast news industries
as a designer and director of communications and live event productions.
As CIO, Husted builds the systems that drive Helpsy’s operations and secures the funding
to support the company’s growth and acquisitions. Prior to joining the company, he
spent 15 years at Edmund Optics, a global manufacturer and distributor of precision
optics. He holds an MBA from Villanova, a marketing certificate from Wharton, and
a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Husted also chairs the board of Philadelphia
Fashion Design BFA '23
Kesarwani is from Lucknow, India. She is a seasoned international traveler and active
Cultural Fellow. She contributes regularly to Globally Connected @ FIT.
Advertising and Marketing Communications AAS ‘22
Esha Lalwani is currently finishing up her last semester of her associate’s degree
in the Advertising and Marketing Communications program. She will be starting her
bachelor’s next semester and plans to graduate a year early with a minor in Italian
Studies. Outside of FIT, she is completing an internship as an event coordinator and
has been involved in many sustainability projects.
Grants Manager, Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs
Lenzen joined FIT’s grants office in 2017. She has more than a decade of experience
in grant writing and grants management in higher education, plus 20 years experience
in the financial services and executive recruiting industries. She received a BBA
with a finance concentration from Pace University in New York City.
Zaida Godoy Navarro
Assistant Professor, Modern Languages and Cultures–Spanish
Navarro received her PhD in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages
at The Graduate Center–CUNY. In her research on contemporary Latin-American theater,
she explores representations of violence, social justice, immigration and issues of
gender with a special emphasis on masculinities.
Professor, Science and Math, Fashion Institute of Technology
Karen Pearson, PhD, is a professor of Science and Math at FIT and is the co-chair
of the college’s Sustainability Council. She has won a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for
Excellence in Teaching, has been noted as one of the 100 Most Inspiring Women in STEM,
and is a recipient of FIT’s President’s Award for Excellence. Pearson has done extensive
work in the development of interdisciplinary STEAM curricula and programming at FIT
and is the recipient of multiple research and program awards, including those from
the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. Her research
outside of the classroom is focused on the design, synthesis, and application of new
materials that have potential in low-energy devices, such as thin-film transistors
(TFTs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Direct and Interactive Marketing ’24
Bhavika Punjabi is currently in her fifth semester at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
She is working on a major in Direct and Interactive Marketing. She’s interested in
sustainability, and also enjoys singing and dancing and the arts. In her free time,
she visits parks and cafes to relax.
Fashion Business Management ’23
Punjabi is currently in her seventh semester at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
She is working on a major in Fashion Business Management, a minor in Ethics and Sustainability
and a second minor in Communication Studies. She currently works on campus as a lab
monitor and a Cultural Fellow. Punjabi is very passionate about sustainability but
her interests also range from drumming to coding. She also likes to spend her free
time at yoga and meditation centers.
Fashion Design AAS ‘23
Rumiantseva hails from Moscow. In addition to being a Cultural Fellow, she is an FIT
Assistant Professor, Ecology, Fashion Institute of Technology
Evelyn Rynkiewicz, PhD, is an assistant professor of Ecology at FIT. She earned her
PhD from Indiana University and subsequently conducted research as a postdoctoral
research scientist at the University of Edinburgh (National Science Foundation Postdoctoral
Research Fellow) and Columbia University. A disease ecologist, Evie’s research investigates
co-infection in wild mice, focusing on how parasites and pathogens interact with each
other and with the host immune system. Evie teaches classes in ecology and biology,
with her overall goals being to increase science literacy among non–science majors
and to give students the confidence to bring ideas of the scientific process and understanding
of the natural world into how they think about their careers. Evie is the FIT faculty
advisor for the Biodesign Challenge program.
Assistant Professor, Fashion Design
During his tenure at FIT, Scott has mentored students on numerous special projects,
including working on a new and innovative uniform and accessories concept for the
Girl Scouts of America and the knitting and design workshops for the FIT x MIT collaboration.
Scott studied textile design at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science and
the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels, Scotland. He has consulted for numerous
companies including Ralph Lauren, and has designed under his namesake label since 2001. His collections experiment with materials and construction, employing
both sustainable and innovative practice.
His awards and exhibitions include the 2006 Cooper Hewitt National Design Triennial,
the 2007 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation prize, and a nomination for the 2008 Woolmark
Award. In 2010 he was named as one of 10 designers in the inaugural CFDA Fashion Incubator.
Coordinator, PrintFX and FabLab, FIT
Shahadat has been with FIT for almost a decade and has a strong background in digital
fabrication. He helps students rapidly prototype ideas that require 3D printing, laser
cutting, 3D modeling and much more.
Fashion Business Management BS ’23
From Tel Aviv, Shalev is vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a lab
monitor, and an Academic Skills Center tutor on campus.
Secretary of Sustainability, FIT Student Government Association, Direct and Interactive
Singer is the current Secretary of Sustainability for the Student Government Association.
In her studies at FIT, she seeks to implement sustainable practices and environmental
advocacy. Brooke graduated magna cum laude with her associate's degree in Fashion
Design from FIT and is currently majoring in Direct and Interactive Marketing while
minoring in Ethics/Sustainability and Psychology. Brooke is also involved in FIT athletics
as the goalkeeper for the Tigers. In 2021, she was awarded FIT Athlete of the Year
for her performance on and off the field. Outside of school, she promotes gender equality
as she shares her story online playing semi-pro women's tackle football for the state
of New York.
Assistant Professor, Fashion Design
Sperber is a multidisciplinary fashion designer, consultant, and educator. She recently
launched an open-source fashion avatar database for designers to use in 3D development
tools. The project, sponsored by New York State Council on the Arts, and is available
to use at fashionavatars.org.
Marci Zaroff coined the term “eco-fashion" in 1995 and is an internationally recognized eco-lifestyle
expert, educator, innovator, serial entrepreneur, and author of ECOrenaissance: Co-Creating a Stylish, Sexy and Sustainable World." She is the founder and CEO of ECOfashion Corp.—a “greenhouse of brands” that includes
B2B turnkey sustainable fashion and home manufacturer MetaWear, regenerative/organic
cotton farm project RESET, affordable, size-inclusive, QVC/mass-market organic lifestyle
brands Farm to Home and Seed to Style, and new D2C (e)co-creation retail platform
Zaroff is also the founder of Under the Canopy, a producer of the documentary series
Thread and Driving Fashion Forward, and co-founder of Good Catch, BeyondBrands and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
She has been instrumental in driving authenticity, environmental leadership, and social
justice worldwide for over three decades.