Carolyn Simon

Carolyn Simon wants to use her apparel, merchandising, and design degree to become a color and material designer for athletic footwear. She makes the most of her college experience by spending her free time dancing, thrift shopping, and working on personal design projects.

Carolyn Simon explores her creativity at Fashion/Tech Hackathon

Carolyn started 2018 with a trip to Kent State University as one of approximately 200 students who attended the university’s fifth annual Fashion/Tech Hackathon. She knew this was an opportunity she wanted to take advantage of, but she wasn’t sure how to finance the trip.

“I got funding from the Hackathon, as well as funding from Multicultural Student Affairs and the Donna R. Danielson Professorship in Textiles and Clothing,” she said. “All of the support I got made the trip doable.”

At the conference, student teams were tasked with creating a wearable technology in 36 hours. Since Carolyn was the only Iowa State student to attend, she and her teammates met each other at the conference and got right to work.

 “We made a dress that changed silhouettes,” she said. “It had motors on the sides that would cause the dress to move.”

The presentations were Carolyn’s favorite part of the conference. After 36 hours of brainstorming, creativity, and implementation, students showcased their work for their peers and a panel of judges.

“The judges walk around and you pitch your design to them, and they give you suggestions on how to improve,” she said. “It’s a good time to see where you’re at.”

For students who want to get involved with unique events like the Fashion/Tech Hackathon, Carolyn encourages talking to professors, advisers, and even peers about opportunities. According to Carolyn, once an opportunity presents itself, the important part is having the courage to go.

“You’re definitely qualified, and you’ll meet other people along the way that will help you in your creative process,” she said.