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A “Sparkle Fashion Show” at University Prep School was held in the auditorium recently by students and staff.

The show was an innovative S.T.E.M. “Fashion Technology” program recreating the 2016 met gala’s theme: Fashion in the age of technology. Their “Sparkle Fashion Show” feature creative E-Textile clothing designed by students at University Prep.



Executive Director, Lisa Thorpe-Vaughn said, “Pittsburgh has been a forerunner in many educational as well as innovative STEM programs. But, there are none quite like the AYA Initiatives ‘Fashion Technology’ program held at University Prep School.

“The girls in this program learned about more than just STEM, but rather a very practical approach to STEM careers. They learned, viewed, experienced and displayed that building a career in STEM is reaching from where they are. The concept of Fashion Technology mixed with a touch of Science, a dropped of Engineering from the concepts presented. And, Minor Math, which was included in measuring, proportioning in cutting measured piece of any type of material.”

University Prep School STEM Program has students doing positive, innovative, and creative activities.

AYA Initiative’s key partners were University Preparatory School (U-Prep), Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation and the Sue-Jure Group. AYA Initiative’s funding for this grant was the 3 Rivers Workforce Investment Board.

Thorpe-Vaughn said, “I was very pleased with the outcome from our staff, the students, the Principal and his staff, as well as the patience of our Fiscal Agent’s (Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation), along with the 3RWIB, our funders. I have 2 top take-aways from this program. First is the creative idea of recruiting theses young ladies with the excitement that would learn professional skills while receiving a stipend to sustain them. Second: is that they were presented the STEM concept from an innovative perspective; one that drew their interest.

“Our closing event was necessary, the ‘STEM Sparkle Fashion Show’ was the most appropriate time to allow the girls to showcase their hard work to their principal and staff, parents and friends. These young ladies are from needling thread, financial planning… to learning how to sew and operate a Micro-comptroller with lights, to their own creation. The event sparkled all around; from the satisfied eyes of the participants, to the colored lighting on their dresses.”

The family support for the program and the designers was outstanding.

“My favorite moment of the event was the attendance of the family, to support and encourage the positive work being done by the students. And I would first like to thank the 3 Rivers Workforce Investment Board, for funding a ‘not so traditional’ program. I’d like to thank the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, Executive Director, Mr. Richard Swartz and Mr. Rick Flanagan; our fiscal agents, and last, but certainly not least, the AYA Initiative staff and guest speakers,” Thorpe-Vaughn said.







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