MARIA CECILIA CELIS HERMIDA AND WILLIAM J. ROSSI III SELECTED TO SPLIT $3,200 SCHOLARSHIP For the 2017/2018 Academic Year at FIT
We are pleased to announce that the Scholarship Selection Committee, comprised of Kenneth O’Brien, Chief Operating Officer of Gemini Shippers Association, and outstanding ITM alumnae, Prof. Carla Quatraro‐Darcy, ITM’2015 and ITM Mentoring Coordinator, as well as Prof. Andrea Reyes, ITM’2009, Founder of A. Bernadette, Chair of the New York City Fair Trade Coalition, and past recipient of the Gemini Shippers Association Practicum Scholarship to Argentina, have chosen Maria Cecilia Celis Hermida and William J. Rossi as the recipients of the 2017‐2018 Gemini Shippers Association Academic Scholarship.
Gemini Shippers Association is a long‐time supporter of ITM students, having donated more than $160,000 to the ITM program. Through Ken and Sara Mayes’ leadership, the company was also chosen by the New York District Export Council as last year’s recipient of its Global Logistics Award at its Annual International World Trade Week NYC Awards Breakfast.
The Selection Committee recognized Maria Cecilia primarily for her charisma, passion for volunteerism, and the benefits the scholarship would bring to realizing her goal of working initially in a multinational company’s corporate social responsibility area, then in a non-profit organization, to solve global problems, foster a productive, comfortable, and safe environment, and improve people’s lives.
Maria Cecilia’s volunteer activities include participation in the FILA Festival, planning activities and raising funds for a children’s shelter, sorting food at a nursing home, and tutoring kids on bed-time stories as well as English learner speakers on Math. She is developing a marketing strategy to share the mission of a Venezuelan non-profit organization and generating ideas to raise funds and awareness of its cause.
Maria Cecilia is supplementing her ITM major with minors in Art History and Economics. She also completed her Associate in Applied Science degree in Photography, an art-form she believes can be used by communities as a tool to work through trauma and promote human and social capital growth based on global awareness of their environment . She is currently tutoring at the Academic Skills Center at FIT, served as Production Assistant for the Stand Riendo documentary in Venezuela, worked at Hall of Art at FIT, created a nutrition magazine targeted to third grade students at School Independencia in Venezuela, and acted as this school’s yearbook photographer and Creative Director.
Given the complexity of Venezuela’s financial and economic challenges, Maria Cecilia has had to deal with seeking funds to continue her studies abroad. Noting the value of the ITM education more than ever,, Maria Cecilia intends to apply the knowledge gained from her ITM studies by helping others.
In his recommendation of Maria Cecilia, Prof. Lawrence Delson indicated that she is a mature and excellent student, and participates actively in class discussions while intelligently articulating the pertinent issues discussed from an international business perspective.
Will is a member of the FIT President’s Sustainability Council, Director of Sustainability of the FIT Student Government Association, Community Engagement and Marketing Intern at Project Just, Sales Advisor of Warby Parker, Net Impact Healthy Food Fellow, Fashion Revolution Student Ambassador, and active volunteer in ITM’s Talking Trade @ FIT guest lecture series as well as its Sustainable Global Sourcing Forum. He also contributes as an organizer for People’s Climate Movement and prepares, packs, as well as delivers meals at God’s Love We Deliver.
In describing his accomplishments, Suzanne McGillicuddy, Assistant Dean of Students and co-Chair of the Sustainability Council, stated that Will’s “leadership, organizational skill, resourcefulness, follow-through, communication, dedication, networking ability, maturity, patience, and flexibility” were key to the success of the College’s initiatives. Will’s ability to infuse his ITM background with his extra-curricular activities while exhibiting a clever sense of humor and sound perspective under pressure has consistently come through on their collaborations together.
Will will be representing ITM at the Third Annual Wharton-Baker Invitational as well as participating in an Economy Panel Discussion by the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program at Columbia University featuring sustainability-focused master programs to compare approaches to drive sustainable change within their schools and professional networks.
In addition to the financial benefits the scholarship will bring, it will also enable Will to focus on filming and constructing a virtual reality series on the lives of garment workers in India, aiming to foster a culture of discussing empathy for such workers in consumer purchases and company supply chains. He also plans to apply some of funds to participate in the 2018 International Trade Practicum to Hong Kong and Taipei.
In addition to majoring in ITM, Will is minoring in Ethics and Sustainability, Economics, as well as International Politics. As a Presidential scholar, Will intends to pursue a research thesis possibly along with a documentary film covering the entire fashion industry from farmer to consumer to lay out the benefits and disadvantages of a company’s transition to sustainable practices.
With a desire to work with companies to find an analytical and strategic role in a company’s supply chain as well as to serve in the Peace Corps’ environmental program in South America, Will ultimately aims to become an influential leader of the global fashion industry, helping to shape it better serve the world. Expressing his fervent commitment to environmental and social sustainability, Will believes that fashion has the power to reverse pollution, innovate ways to “recyle fabrics, utilize natural fibers and dyes, cherish the work of artisans, and create fair wage jobs” around the world, ultimately transforming the industry to operate in the interest of humanity.
We hope that you will all join us in congratulating Maria Cecilia and Will as ITM’s new Gemini Shippers Association academic scholars!