What if your professor gave you a task that you originally thought would be as easy as walking in your seven inch heels every day to class?  A few months ago Professor Dudkowski was sharing the necessity of hiring a guest speaker for our annual fashion seminar that takes place in the early part of the fall. The opportunity seemed very intriguing so I went ahead and took on the role of becoming project manager. My initial thoughts were that I just had to find a celebrity guest that was influential and well known in the fashion industry but yet still remained within our budget. This task was not as easy as I first anticipated it to be! After days of research, I still could not find a speaker who was right for the event. I wanted an individual who was empowering and someone that I admired. This was such a tough thing for me to do, and I will admit that the task did become a little intimidating,

     One night as I was researching and I almost gave up because I was not receiving any responses from the celebrities that I previously contacted and I began to lose all hope. I decided to call it a night, in hopes that in the morning I would have the perfect celebrity in mind.  When I woke up…I had it!  As soon as Anya Ayoung-Chee, winner of Project Runway Season 9 came to my mind, I knew I had to close the deal and get her to speak at the fashion seminar.

     I knew that Anya would be a great candidate for the event. She’s young, talented, and a very unique individual.  Anya was often looked upon as the underdog on Project Runway because she did not know how to sew, but taught herself as each project progressed. She’s such an inspiration and an inventive achiever! When I finally received the approval from her representative, I was beyond excited to finally announce that she would be speaking to us.

      Being the project manager, I had many responsibilities to deal with; booking the client was just the beginning. For the next month I would be working closely with the marketing executives at the school and college officials to make sure that the event was well promoted, and that we represented the affair to the highest of our capabilities. I created unique flyers presenting our guest speaker and the date in which the event would be held on. I had to create a detailed itinerary for the event to make sure that entirety of the day ran effortlessly.  I also had to converse with Anya’s representative on a daily basis regarding the specs of the event to make sure that every detail was addressed.

       This event began to consume my life, and I truly felt like I was living out my dream job! Colleagues began questioning me asking where I have been and why I would take so long to get back to them. I would simply reply and say that I was busy getting ready for my big event, and could not afford any interruptions.

      Being a design student and trying to plan a big event is a lot of work. Taking 21 credit hours, working on campus, designing and consulting with my clients, and still try to balance my social life takes such an extensive amount of effort and energy, but I love every minute of it. Professor Earhart encourages students to eat healthy because she knows how much vitality goes into our busy lifestyles.

     The morning of Wednesday October 23rd, I received the notification that Anya was on her way! I called my assistant Arianna and from then on it was show time. I stuck to the proceedings that were planned for Anya such as exclusive meetings, a catered lunch with our Vice President, Dean of Students, Director of the Fashion program, and fashion professors Mr. Dudkowski and Mrs. Earheart. I also made sure she was at the media moment in the Roz Steiner Art Gallery that was conducted by Donna Rae Sutherland, where interviews were set up with the Daily News, Wingin’ It Buffalo, and the Batavian, and also scheduled photo ops with President Sunser.

     What I originally thought would be a simple assignment turned into me producing a remarkable event here at Genesee Community College. There were countless positive reviews about the event and how much everyone enjoyed hearing from Anya. I could not have done it without the encouragement of my professors to take  this event on with  full confidence. I am so thankful for the opportunity that was given to me and I could not have wished for a better experience!


My name is Candace Cooper, and this is what my life is like in the FASH lane.

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