Meet Textile Pioneer Scholar Alex Hutchens ’24
The Textile Pioneer Scholarship — one of NC State’s many need-based scholarships supported by donors — was created in 2020 to help recruit more first-generation students and students from North Carolina’s rural counties to the Wilson College of Textiles and to the textiles industry. In addition to scholarship support, Textile Pioneer Scholars receive $4,000 in enrichment funds.
Alex Hutchens ’24 is a member of the inaugural cohort of Textile Pioneer Scholars, majoring in fashion and textile management with a concentration in brand management and marketing — and forging her own path at NC State and at the Wilson College.
Where are you from and how did you decide to attend NC State?
I’m from New Bern, North Carolina. And we don’t have much going on there fashion- and textiles-wise. So in order to get an education in fashion and textiles, I needed to travel. NC State offered me the best education in the fashion realm.
Can you walk us through the day you found out you had been named a Textile Pioneer Scholar?
I found out I was getting the Textile Pioneer Scholarship while we were taking our classes online for the final semester of my high school education. I was working on my computer when they called me, but I didn’t know who it was. Then they told me I had received the scholarship, and the news was just so exciting. I ran into my living room and told my mom how excited I was. And it was just such a special moment knowing that I was being provided for in that way. I’m very thankful, and it’s a nice memory to have.
How does it feel to be part of the inaugural group of Textile Pioneer Scholars?
So, I’m actually a triplet. I have two other sisters who are going to college at the same time. Because of this, we are all paying for our education on our own. This scholarship has lifted the burden off me, and it has also allowed me to enjoy my experience more. For example, I’ve added a journalism minor, and knowing that I have the wiggle room to add in more classes has made the experience a lot more flexible.
How would you describe your experience at NC State so far?
My experience at NC State has been nothing but fantastic. The teachers here are so amazing. They’re always welcoming and willing to help, and they love to work hands-on with students.
We also have a wide array of clubs that you can be part of. I’m a member of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. This club has provided me with some support and helped me expand my knowledge, since I’m not a chemistry student. So that’s been something that’s been very beneficial to my education, helping to make me more well-rounded.
What has your scholarship allowed you to do that you otherwise would not have been able to do?
One thing in particular is that it’s allowing me to take on internship experiences. I will be moving up to New York City for the summer to work at Macy’s as a merchandising intern. The Textile Pioneer Scholarship is providing me with enrichment funds that will pay for my housing.
What does it mean to you that donors continue to create and invest in new scholarships for NC State students, like the Textile Pioneer Scholarship?
The Textile Pioneer Scholarship awards funding to students from rural areas, and it’s also need-based. And so knowing that donors see the need that students have and then meet those needs through their financial support means the world. It’s so great to know that people care about students like me and are willing to provide for us in that way.
What would you like NC State scholarship donors to know about their support?
Knowing that there are people out there that support students makes the process of coming to this college so much sweeter, and I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude. NC State donors are making the college experience possible for students like me and are creating success for students for years to come. And I just hope that one day I can pay it forward.
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