Instructor Spotlight: Kristy Puchko

Kristy Puchko is a New York-based film critic and entertainment journalist whose work has appeared on Vanity Fair, Nerdist, IndieWire, and many more sites. A small town girl from Pennsylvania, Puchko came to New York to study film at Macaulay Honors College’s Brooklyn College branch, and graduated with a B.A. in Film Studies. After a summer working on Sesame Street, Puchko moved from production to post-production, working on music videos, commercials, and films. From there, she branched out into blogging, and quickly realized her true passion was in writing about cinema in a way that engaged and challenged audiences. Today, her career includes interviewing filmmakers and stars, penning thought-provoking editorials about film and television, and crafting reviews of the latest titles hitting theaters. She’s traveled the world on assignments, trekking to film festivals, press junkets, and visits to movie sets. But she can’t talk about those until the embargoes lift.

See some movie reviews by Kristy:






Teaching Philosophy:

I aim to emulate the learning environments where I grew the most as a student. Conversation is key. I believe the classroom must be a safe space for students to test out ideas and feel free to ask questions. As my work is all about interpretations of art, I don’t believe in a “right” interpretation, just supported arguments and unsupported arguments. Don’t stop at your opinion, dig and tell me how you got there. I want students to treat me as a soundboard, where they can bounce ideas and questions with verve and without fear.

On Precollege Programs:

My first semester of college was a major culture shock, going from a small town to a big city, yet smaller class sizes, and much more challenging curriculums. What I strive to provide to make that transition easier on my students is an introduction to the kind of critical thinking and opinion-based writing that will be put them ahead of their peers. College is a journey where passion finds a focus, but Precollege courses can be a strong first step on that path.


Industry Experience:

Film Critic for Nerdist,, Pajiba
Member of OFCS – the Online Film Critics Society
Member of GALECA – Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association
LA Film Prize Judge (2014-2016)

Instructor Spotlight: Donna Berger

Donna Tartaglione Berger began her career in fashion as a fashion designer and illustrator after graduating from The Fashion Institute of Technology. Her experience in the industry spans fashion design, graphic design, illustration, and CAD implementation. Her design experience includes companies such as: Emanuel Ungaro, Jones NY, Marc Andrew, Larry Levine, S.Rothschild, Members Only, and Donna Karan. After many years of designing in the fashion industry, Donna started her own business and is a successful entrepreneur with an athleisure brand concentrating on today’s trends, fashion forecasting and branding in the world of social presence.

As a designer, educator, and entrepreneur with over 25 years of fashion industry experience, Donna has a proven track record in connecting fashion, creativity, technology and student success as her passion continues to ‘give back’ to her students. Her knowledge and years of experience help students thrive in an environment that is unique and challenging.

She currently teaches part time at The Fashion Institute of Technology and at Parsons The New School of Design.

Donna also volunteers as an artist/photographer for children’s organizations including the Make A Wish foundation and Operation Warm.


Classes Taught:
JSX050: The Fashion Cycle
JSX060: Red Carpet Fashion
JSX 019: Fashion History: Trends Through the Decades

On Precollege Programs:
FIT’s Precollege Program is a wonderful opportunity to teach and introduce students interested in fashion within a college setting.  They get a good feeling from the workshops, campus, people, and all the creativity surrounding them.  I wish these programs were available when I was in middle/high school.  We always have a wonderful time together and I love seeing the smiles, and self-confidence on their faces as we create the projects!

Teaching Philosophy:
I love to work with driven students in a creative, inspiring environment and help them learn the skills they need to move forward.  My students are engaged in personal hands-on projects as they are able to choose a topic of interest and apply the skills we are learning along the way.  I find that when students get to research their own interest, it is a true passion-based learning experience.  It’s amazing to see how they grow through the workshops; artistically and socially.

Fashion in the Social Media Era

In an age where everything revolves around social media, we sure have an extraordinary way of communicating and connecting, especially when it comes to launching a business or engaging with customers. Recently, I attended a seminar with Eva Chen, head of Instagram’s Fashion Partnership on this subject at FIT. She talked with two fashion designers, Becca McCharen and Tanya Taylor about putting their brand out there and how they use Instagram as an outlet to gain recognition. Each designer shared with us what their brand is all about and how they use Instagram to relay that.

Becca sees fashion from an architectural standpoint and loves that Instagram lets her connect to the public and show her audience what this is all about. Tanya who is all about floral and bold prints, loves the interaction this platform allows and that customers get to see the timeline and dedication put into a season from the very beginning to the last step on the runway. 

On top of finding out what these savvy women think of Instagram, we also found out how they made it to where they stand now with some valuable tips.

Tip 1: Be proactive

Tip 2: Show that you love what you do and that you are there for a reason

Tip 3: Your voice should always be heard, do not be afraid to say something, people love feedback in the fashion industry

Tip 4: Connections, connections, connections

Besides these life saving tips, there was also talk about futuristic fashion, Instagram etiquette, and of course, Gucci loafers. Regarding the future of fashion, Becca, whose brand is all about the look of tomorrow, gave some very deep insight for what we will be wearing years from now. Who knows maybe tinfoil will be the next big thing on runways. Then Eva, who is super Insta savvy, schooled us all on Instagram do’s and dont’s, certainly gaining interest from the less technically inclined (aka my mom). Also gaining attention from many of us in the crowd, Eva talked about some very relatable fashion challenges. Like when you really don’t want something but you see it everywhere and then fall in love, like Gucci loafers, and angrily buy them because now you have to get them. Yeah, we have all been there.

Thanks to the Museum at FIT for hosting this talk and for these lovely trio of women, I now have better knowledge and perspective of technology in the fashion world (and this awesome picture of me and Eva Chen).

Until next time,


Be your own Motivation

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? Is it knowing that you have a party later where you can show off your new top? That your parents promised you your favorite meal for dinner? Or that you just have a good feeling about the day you are about to embark on? For me, it is success, knowing that if I don’t get up and start my day, I will get no where and accomplish nothing. Whether it be passing a big test or achieving my life goals, I get up and just do. As a sophomore in high school and getting my foot in the door to college, I have woken up extra motivated lately, having the opportunity to start thinking about how I will make it big and display my strive for success.

For me, the only way I believe I can carry out my dreams is doing what I love. So I look at my second inspiration, fashion. This is what brought me to FIT and what made me stay. The Precollege programs have allowed me to develop new skills and a new outlook that will shape my future in the fashion industry. I can not imagine myself anywhere else and the opportunities that have risen from my time here are very valuable. I also can not picture myself working anywhere but in fashion. Like many others, I hope to one day become a successful employee of a major company, and maybe even boss of my own company, and there is no way I can get to that level of achievement without my friends, family and FIT. Especially not without my incentive to get up and trek through the adventure leading me down the path to that fulfillment.

When employers and clients look at your past and see all the great things you have done in preparation for what you are about to pursue, they are made to believe you must have a strong passion for what you do, otherwise what are you doing here. Personally, I hope one day someone will notice not only that I took my preparation very seriously but that they see the time I took away from my weekends to spend in a classroom here at FIT and why I did so. Also that it was not because someone was forcing me, not because I was bored and wanted something to do, but because I wanted to be there. I want to be swallowed up by the culture of the city and FIT, and that I love what I do and have loved it for a very long time. So if it is something like fashion or success that motivates you why not start now, find something like the Precollege Programs at FIT to begin early and get ahead of the game. Along the way do not forget to get up and start your day with intention. Be your own motivation, be your own success, and be your own ambition until it becomes a habit.



Want To Be Apart Of The NYC Community? Communicate.

alivia-cooneyIn the wise words of Kylie Jenner, this really is the year of us all just “realizing things.” Based on my personal experiences in the last year alone, which have culminated into this grand 2016 finale of being a part of FIT’s Precollege Program, I can say that the universe has thrown a lot at me in a very short time.

A major key that has been a running theme for me in recent times, which also happens to be a running theme in my class at FIT, is the necessity for communication skills. The ability to articulate yourself clearly and effectively is the single factor that can unlock any door, whether it be for social, creative, or business purposes. If you can’t control your words and self-presentation in front of live human people who also have thoughts and presences, then you will always be locked out and left behind.

I’ve always been better with writing words than speaking them. Up until eighth grade, I had about two social skills, and barely two friends as a result. There came a point where I realized I’d have to learn how to speak like an approachable, relatable human person if I wanted to go anywhere in life (especially in my field of interests, in arts and entertainment). So I spoke, and I haven’t shut up since! Human connection is rewarding. 10/10, highly recommend.

This past Sunday’s class specifically is what really inspired me to start thinking about the importance of strong public speaking skills. We had to present two Power Point presentations on a retailer and fashion icon, and their respective influences on the fashion world. I presented first, because I also was asked to speak about my blogging with FIT. I stood at the front of the room for literally about a half an hour. This was a challenge that I didn’t know I needed; I had to conduct class discussions on the spot, while keeping the principle of selling myself and my ideas at the forefront. I have a decent amount of experience in presenting myself to a large group from doing theater my whole life, but this was different. I couldn’t hide behind a character or gimmick, I had to be myself in a way that was engaging and inspiring. I was talking about subjects I’m passionate about, in front of girls who I’m all friendly with, yet this was still a foreign concept to me, nerve-wracking in the moment. It was honestly a humbling experience. It made me realize that I still have a lot of room to grow, and I’m grateful I now have this forum to do so.

Class discussions are the wheels that keep the class a-turnin’. Our professor is excellent at picking out specific insights and turning them into questions, sparking further discussion and debate. Given the fact that this is a business class, it only makes sense for the class to be fueled this way, given that it is preparation for presenting our ideas in front of, say, a product development team. Even if we do not go any further in the fashion industry, the public speaking skills we’ve learned can be applied to any profession in any industry. It’s life! People talk!


(reposted from

What do you have to say?