Jo-Ann Stores award first scholarship solely for KSU students

Natalie+Sullinger+and+some+of+the+items+she+received+after+winning+the+Jo-Ann+Stores%2C+Inc.+First+Generation+Scholarship+for+Fashion+Design+and+Merchandising.+Submitted+photo.

Natalie Sullinger and some of the items she received after winning the Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. First Generation Scholarship for Fashion Design and Merchandising. Submitted photo.

Danielle DeBord

Natalie Sullinger spent her time making quilts for individuals with cancer and, as a result, received the $5,000 Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. First Generation Scholarship for Fashion Design and Merchandising.

Scholarship requirements stated the recipients had to be first generation college students with high academic achievement and demonstration of leadership roles in groups related to fabric, crafts or sewing.

Sullinger, freshman fashion design major, said she had to make a quilt for someone with cancer during her high school sewing class, and the quilt was donated to the Moll Cancer Center in Cleveland. She said she would like to get a program like that started at Kent State.

“After seeing the impact that a simple quilt can make on a cancer patient, I then decided to make a quilt for every person I knew that had cancer,” Sullinger said in an email interview.

Sullinger said she has been sewing since she was 12 years old and was always interested in clothes and wanted to make them for herself.

Joe Adams, public relations specialist for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, said the company made a commitment to Kent State University Foundation, which is how the scholarship came about. The scholarship is only offered to Kent State fashion design and fashion merchandising majors.

“Natalie is the inaugural recipient of the Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. First Generation Scholarship for Fashion Design and Merchandising,” Adams said in an email interview.

Sullinger received her first sewing machine when she was 8 years old. When she first began to sew, she didn’t know much but would cut up shirts and then sew them back together.

She’s come a long way since sewing ripped shirts, now finishing up her freshman year at Kent State, where she said she applied solely for its fashion program.

Sullinger decided to apply for the scholarship because she met the criteria. She said she had a good feeling about winning the scholarship because she didn’t think many people would be a first generation college student and have leadership in a sewing program.

“I know it’s a long way off,” Sullinger said, “but I do plan to one day be showing my collections at New York Fashion Week.”

Contact Danielle DeBord at [email protected].