Meet the Bloggers!

Sam & Sam, RMIT University in Melbourne (Spring 2013)

Hey everyone! We are Samantha Smoot and Samantha McAleese jointly blogging to you from sunny Melbourne, Australia! We are both 5th semester FMM students currently attending Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Samantha M. is from Long Island, New York and is very involved with event planning and design at Tracy Taylor Ward Designs and looks forward to pursuing a possible career in this field. Samantha S. is from Doylestown, Pennsylvania and work for Lilly Pulitzer- but I’m not quite sure where I’ll end up yet! We are both summer girls and are looking forward to the beautiful beaches and sunshine here in Australia- we hope to send some warm weather your way back in the states and hope you enjoy reading about our adventures!


Sam & Sam

Mollie Attenson, University of Westminster in England (Spring 2013)

Mollie is a midwest transplant who moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.  She is now in her 5th semester in the Fashion Merchandising Management program and was recently accepted to study at the University of Westminster for spring 2013. She is so excited to explore a new place and be immersed into a foreign culture! You can follow her journey preparing to study in the UK here on the FIT Study Abroad blog, at, and on twitter @molliegwen to see how things evolve as she embarks on this new adventure. She is a goal setter and a planner, so to say the least it should be interesting to see how things unfold as she goes into the unknown!

Kelly Cholko, Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence (Spring 2013)

Self-proclaimed fashion-nerd and ball of contradictions, I grew up in Philadelphia’s suburbia.  Currently a Starbucks addicted New-Yorker, I’m in my third year at The Fashion Institute of Technology studying Advertising & Marketing Communications.  This Spring I will be taking as many shoes as I can fit in my luggage to the Lorenzo de Medici school in Florence, Italy where I hope to be overwhelmed by the culture and history of this great city.

Sojourner Edmonson-Sealy, Donghua University in Shanghai (Spring 2013)

Hey Lovely People:

My name is Sojourner, but feel free to call me Sojo! I am a 23 year-old International Trade and Marketing Major, with an Associates Degree in Fashion Design. My life consists of Whimsy, Androgyny, and Feminine Exploits. I am originally from New York and I have only been overseas once, it was recently to London.

This spring while I am studying abroad in Shanghai, China, I will be documenting my experience before, during, and after Shanghai, serving you all the Fashion, Chinese Culture, and Life you can handle!

During this sojourn I will also be interpreting my adventures and discoveries through a mini clothing collection, with which you will experience the entire process. Once the study abroad is over, I will be contacting the Fashion Industries high school to speak to some seniors about studying abroad and applying for scholarships.

In order to make this trip possible I want to thank all involved in catapulting me into this escapade, including the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Fund, the FIT Office of International Affairs, My Mother, and My Inspirational Friends who constantly support me! I am extremely excited and equally nervous because I know this experience will impact my life and career goals intensely. I hope you’re excited to come on this journey and live life through my eyes.

So without further adieu, welcome to “The Whimsical Adventures of Sojo.”

Your Whimsical Tour Guide,


Sylvia Marques-Jackson, Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence (Spring 2013)

Hi everyone,

This coming spring semester I will be studying at Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, Italy and I cannot wait! Having lived in Europe most of my life, traveling has always been one of my passions. I was born in Spain to an American mother and a Spanish father. I lived there for eight years and then I moved to Belgium and lived there for seven years. At the end of my sophomore year of high school I moved to the US. I finished high school in Arizona and then I went to New York for college, where I am currently a junior at FIT studying AMC. One of the main reasons why I love living in New York is because of the multitude of cultures found in such a small area. It is impossible to ever get bored here! Although I love my New York, I know studying abroad is a must for everyone. This is a great opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture. I am looking forward to sharing my adventures with all of you!

Kendra Mangana-Adams, American University of Rome (Spring 2013)

Hello Everyone!

My name is Kendra Mangana-Adams & I will be studying at the University of Rome, Italy for my 2013 Spring semester! I’m an International Trade and Marketing major in my 5th semester, with my AAS in Fashion Merchandising Management.

My mother was in the military for 20 years, so I grew up traveling to a bunch of different places. I lived in Germany for about 4 years when I was in Elementary School and I loved it! I am totally looking forward to living and exploring Europe and I plan on taking full advantage of this amazing opportunity and updating you on all of my adventures!


Ciara Jackson, Donghua University in Shanghai (Spring 2013)

Throughout her entire life, she been associated directly or indirectly with the world of fashion. Originating from playing “dress-up in mommy’s closet” to participating in fashion shows and photo shoots. The desire to imagine and create in all these fields has been her way of life.

Ciara is an original Midwest native whose transition has led her to embark on her educational endeavors at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She recently graduated this past May, with an Associate’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from Brookdale Community College. She is currently a junior at the Fashion Institute, where she majors in International Trade and Marketing, along with 3 minors; International Politics, Economics and Asian Studies.

Although this will be her first time experiencing life in another country, it was not by a series of fortuitous events that led her to study abroad in Shanghai, China this Spring 2013.

“I’ve always dreamt of going to China. So much, that as a child I collected Asian currencies as a hobby. Their culture, work ethic and way of life has always been appealing, and now I have been granted the privilege of studying under that great tutelage.”-Ciara Cartrell

Stay tuned as she accompanies us on her astounding journey, through blog posts and photos. We’re sure that this experience will create an explosion of greatness in her educational studies and future career.

Barbie Romero, American University of Rome (Spring 2013)

My name is Barbie Romero. I am currently a junior majoring in AMC and minoring in Italian. I will be spending my Spring semester in Rome.

This is the first time that I will be studying abroad. I love to discover new places, go shopping, and try different cuisines.

Emma Aikens, American University of Paris (Fall 2012/Spring 2013)

Emma is a Fashion Merchandising Management major currently studying at the American University of Paris, which is located in Paris’ lovely 7eme Arrondissement. Growing up in a small town in Northern California, she has found living in Paris quite exciting so far.  Some of her interests include horseback riding, Argentine tango, and opera-all of which are abundant in Paris and in the Ile-de-France area.

Talisa Almonte, Central Saint Martins in London (Fall 2012)

My name is Talisa Almonte. I’m originally from Dominican Republic and lived in Miami, Florida from when I was 4 until I decided to pursue a career in fashion design at FIT in NYC. I recently completed my semester abroad at CSM doing the knitwear pathway for my 5th semester. I’m now currently on holiday break till late January when I will be starting my 6th semester at FIT for Fashion Design, specializing in Sportswear.