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Experiencing fashion: One graduate’s journey through WVU Davis

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MORGANTOWN, W.VA. — The upcoming West Virginia University Commencement will honor the final graduating classes from both the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. Successive graduations will be under the new Davis College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Creative Arts and Media

One of few students to be the last to graduate from both colleges next week is Daphne Carroll. She’ll receive degrees in both fashion, dress and merchandising from the Davis College and marketing from the Chambers College. 

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“I’ve always been interested in joining the fashion industry,” Carroll said. “I thought the unique mixture of experiences from a college that held many different disciplines would provide me with a unique perspective and experiences to set me apart in the future job market.”

Her experiences were more prolific than expected. Carroll’s professor, teaching assistant professor of fashion, dress and merchandising, Beth Shorrock, and research assistant, Jordon Masters, had industry and research backgrounds that provided her with opportunities both in and out of the classroom. Carroll’s first internship was for the Central Appalachia Fibershed, a nonprofit that Shorrock and Masters worked with. 

“That gave me the chance to work in textiles and understand the circular supply chain on a more developmental level,” she said. “This experience led me to my current journey of looking critically at the leather supply chain, specifically the lack of connection small farmers have to tanning.”

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After graduation Carroll plans to gain industry experience before attending graduate school to further study the leather supply chain. With an interest in the role agriculture plays in fashion, she said she hopes to put her education and skills to use in West Virginia.

“I’ve always believed in uplifting my community in Appalachia and would love to stay local to build business opportunities and continue education on circularity in fashion,” she said.

Because of her time at the Fibershed, Carroll met the leadership of Arthurdale Heritage, Inc. There she assisted in creating a museum exhibition exploring the rich history of textiles in the Arthurdale community.

“The connections you make with faculty and staff are extremely impactful,” Carroll said about her experiential learning. “As students, we often put walls up on student and mentor relationships and don’t speak as candidly. Every educator was once in our shoes, and taking time with them helps deepen your understanding and opens up new doors for you in the future — it did for me.”

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These were the times she said she valued most during her years at Davis College. Carroll, her classmates and mentors, like Shorrock and Masters, would have lengthy discussions in the textile lab, covering topics that weren’t necessarily part of the course curriculum. Those were the conversations that Carroll said “encouraged her to dig deeper in her education.”

“College was always the shining light in the distance, especially as the first graduate in my family, which made me take the opportunity more seriously,” she said. “I wish I had known how much fun college can be, both in the classroom and out of it, so I could have made more room for every experience college had to offer.” 

The Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design envisions a world sustainably fed, clothed and sheltered. To learn more about the Davis College, visit Keep up with the latest updates and news on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube by following @WVUDavis.



Interim Director of Marketing and Communications
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design