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Dressed for Success

Maguire feature

“I actually have an interview tomorrow,” said Jazmin Burroughs, C’21, as she shopped rows and racks of donated apparel. “I have some clothes in my closet, but this stuff is pretty cool.”

maguire-in-text-2.jpgDozens of students attended Mount Suits You—a two-day event organized by Maguire Scholarship Foundation students to provide students with donated clothing, shoes and accessories perfectly suited to wear to a job interview or an internship.

At the trunk show on February 11, Maguire Scholar students modeled fashions from the professional clothing drive, guided by staff stylists who provided tips for how to dress professionally. Most importantly, attendees were given time to look through the apparel, try on outfits and take home one to three pieces for free. Students were invited to return to the Palmieri Activities Center the following day to continue shopping.

“Last year, we know that some students did not feel confident about what professional clothing they owned so we saw a need,” explained Clare Tauriello, director of the Career Center. Spurred by Maguire Scholar Brenna Delaney’s idea to do a collection drive, Maguire Scholar students partnered with Tauriello and Maureen Plant, director of parent and family engagement, to plan Mount Suits You.

maguire-in-text-4.jpg“As part of my Maguire Foundation Scholarship, I was given the task of partaking in a yearlong service project,” explained Brenna Delaney, C’22. “I came up with the idea of doing some sort of collection.”

Maguire Foundation Scholarship adviser and graduate assistant Jaquelyn Yiatrou knew this project was an opportunity to live out the Mount’s mission, including a passion for learning, a heart for serving, knowledge for leading and motivation for living significantly.

Maguire Scholars began asking the Mount community to donate their new and gently used professional clothing, ties, belts and shoes. “We held three collections throughout the year—one following Thanksgiving break, one following Christmas break and one during Homecoming weekend,” Delaney said, noting support from students, parents, alumni and faculty was overwhelming. The Seton Center provided rolling racks to help organize all the clothing.

Biology major Cameron Bricker, C’21, attended the trunk show. “I’m a broke college student and I don’t have lots of professional clothing,” he said, holding a stylish sport coat.

maguire4.jpgBricker, who plans to attend medical school, has used the Career Center to perfect his resume and attended events hosted by the Center for Student Engagement and Success. “I need to look the part,” he quipped. Asked about a piece in his wardrobe with sentimental value, he laughed and referenced a red bowtie he wore to his high school homecoming. “I was inspired by Dr. Who and I still think bowties are in style,” he said.

“My girlfriend told me to come,” said Michael Hartloff, C’21, who attended the event with a group of friends who offered advice and compliments while he shopped for trousers. The computer science and philosophy major wasn’t sure how to identify his personal style but said finding the right size and fit for professional interviews was a priority.

Paris Holbrook, C’21, a communication major with a minor in business, took her time looking through each piece on the rack. “People at the Career Center take the time to get to know you and where you want to work and what you want to do,” she said.

maguire-in-text.jpgHer interview was successful and she currently interns with Ernest Solar, Ph.D., an assistant professor of special education and literacy with the Mount’s School of Education. His research focuses on mindfulness in higher education, crisis de-escalation and the motivation to write.

Leah May, C’20, modeled a tailored two-piece ensemble. She wore a silk scoop-neck blouse underneath a double-breasted windowpane blazer.  May majored in communication and completed an internship with the Baltimore Ravens in the fall. “Maintain your true self, remember to smile and treat an interview like a conversation,” she advised.

Her stylist, Paula Whetsel-Ribeau, Ph.D., the Mount’s vice president for equity and success, offered a litany of tips on fit, material and style. “Remember beginning, middle and end,” she told the audience. “It’s important to do your best on everything from the first handshake and smile to the thank you card after the interview is finished.”

Another Maguire Scholar model, Damon James, C’23, said he felt good. “I was worried about finding something comfortable that fit well,” admitted the business major and sports marketing minor. “I love fashion. It shows your creativity but it doesn’t have to define you.”

“I hope the students who attended our event can see how much confidence the right outfit can give you in an interview or at work,” Delaney added.

“First impressions are made in the first eight seconds, so we want students to feel comfortable, confident and polished in their networking and with employers. In other words, we want to help students present themselves professionally,” Tauriello said.

The Career Center’s constant pursuit of student success continues to exceed expectations. Ninety-eight percent of graduates are employed or in graduate school within one year (with a 90% knowledge rate). Sixty-nine percent of students completed an internship before graduation, and Mount St. Mary’s University is in the top 10% of colleges and universities nationwide in terms of the long-term earnings for a four-year degree.

Mount Suits You was perfectly timed to prepare students for the Career Center’s annual Career Fair, being held March 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. in Patriot Hall. More than 60 employers will be present to speak with students about internship and job opportunities.