November 15, 2023

South High students dive into textiles, merchandising and fashion design

South High student Brianna Solis-Romero, left, and teacher Mary Breedlove during their visit to Nebraska's Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design.
Rafael Bertacini

Rafael Bertacini
South High student Brianna Solis-Romero (left) and teacher Mary Breedlove during their visit to Nebraska's Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Fashion Design welcomed 19 third- and fourth-year Fashion Pathway students from South High School in Omaha for a visit. These students explored the diverse array of experiences and opportunities the department has to offer.

Sandra Starkey, associate professor, and Michael Burton, assistant professor, gave the students a tour of the department facilities and collections, including the Robert Hillestad Gallery and the Historic Textiles Collection. Students also learned about the various technologies used by faculty and students, including Rokoko motion-capture bodysuits, Clo3D digital apparel design software, body scanning for avatar creation, and digital surface design for textiles.

“The technology they had was impressive because it was new to me, and I had never experienced anything similar to it,” said Emily Sanchez, a South High student.

Attending various classes such as Textiles Lab, Garment Assembly, Merchandising III, and Fashion Analysis and Presentation, students obtained a firsthand glimpse into the academic life within the department. They observed and participated in these courses, later sharing this part of the experience as one of the trip’s highlights.

“The thing I enjoyed the most was being able to go into the classes to be able to experience what it’s like being a college student,” said Kimberly Ceballos Rodriguez of South High.

The visit was organized in part by South High teacher Sara Policky, herself an alumna of the Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design program at Nebraska. She expressed her hope that the experience would ignite a sense of possibility in the students.

“I hoped to inspire the students to envision themselves here, recognizing our fashion pathway as their gateway to a successful future,” Policky said. “I want them to see that their skills make them perfectly suited for the respected UNL Textile program.”

The impact of the visit was apparent in the enthusiastic feedback from the students.

“It’s one of the best tours I’ve had, lots of information given along with friendly and outgoing students,” said student Ayanna Barragan. “They answered all of my questions and were super honest about the school. The [apparel] collections in the class were absolutely amazing.”

To schedule an individual or group student visit to the Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design Department, contact Trent Smith,, or Melisia Bieber,