In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, which ran through Oct. 15, 2010, Sen. Robert Menendez spoke to students at the Dwight-Englewood School, a private school in Englewood, about the importance of embracing cultures. “We need to understand the difference among us and that these differences are a cause of celebration,” he said.
Career Fuel caught up with one young Hispanic woman in New Jersey who was making a difference this October—on the fashion runway. Stephanny Alvarez, 20 and a 2007 graduate of Dickinson High School in Jersey City, was a special events manager intern for Donnella Tilery, the founder of the first-annual New Jersey Fashion Week on October 11 and 12. “I worked with the designers and made sure they had everything they needed,” says Stephanny, a fashion marketing student at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. “There were 20 models, four per designer. Any questions they needed answered backstage, they asked me. Everyone knew their duties and I was there to make sure they did them right.” Stephanny was also in charge of reviewing intern résumés and recruiting volunteers for the show.
The experience on the front lines of fashion was incredibly valuable for Stephanny, who will graduate from the Art Institute this December. She takes away a better knowledge of organizing, interviewing and basically the fashion industry in motion. “Donnella expected me to know and do a lot,” says Stephanny. “I had to know the fashion week website (www.newjerseyfashionweek.com) like the back of my hand. You have to know everything about who you are trying to work for.”
Stephanny has set a five-year goal for her fashion career. “My dream career is to own my own store that hosts up-and-coming designers, sells men’s and women’s clothing and possibly children’s clothing later,” says Stephanny. “As soon as I graduate, I plan to work like crazy and save. By the time I’m 25, I want to open my store in the Dominican Republic, where my family is from.” In the words of Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, Stephanny is already making it work.
• If you want an internship that will give you great experience and look good on your résumé, you’ve got to recognize the opportunities. Stephanny Alvarez scored her spot in New Jersey’s first fashion week by impressing founder Donnella Tilery, a client in the Jersey City hair salon where her mother works. “She asked me to send her a résumé and cover letter to be on board for fashion week. I sent it to her and the same day she put me on board as the special events manager,” says Stephanny. “She saw me as a real go-getter.”