ISU student Madi Condon recieves YMA fashion scholarship, trip to New York City


Courtesy of Ann Thye

Madi Condon, YMA scholarship winner and senior in apparel merchandising, was honored with $5,000 and a trip to New York City.

Tedi Mathis

Madi Condon, senior in apparel, merchandising and design joined the list of Iowa State students to win the YMA Scholarship in December, sending her on a whirlwind trip to New York City.

Condon applied for the $5,000 scholarship through Iowa State. Ten applications were chosen by Iowa State to send on to YMA, a scholarship put on by the Fashion Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship required a student to put together a case study analyzing a situation in their industry, dependent on whether they were studying apparel design or apparel merchandising.

Condon focused her research on how J.C. Penney could reach a new and younger market. Altogether, Condon said she spent between 30 and 40 hours on the case study for her application.

Though her case study was strong, Condon said that was not the only thing supporting her application.

“I think one of the big things was my strong GPA,” Condon said. “Also I interned at Target headquarters last summer, so I learned a lot of the analytical aspects of the business that I don’t think students who haven’t had an internship have had yet.”

In the past, Iowa State has had up to six winners of the scholarship at a time, though Condon was the only Cyclone to win this year.

Condon said she had never been to New York City and admitted that was a major reason behind her application for the YMA Scholarship.

“That was the main reason I wanted the scholarship really, it was the trip to New York, not the money, so that was very exciting,” Condon said.

Ann Thye, adviser of apparel, events and hospitality management, accompanied Condon to New York City where the two hit many landmarks and sights.

During their 72 hour window in the city, they were able to see Central Park, Barney’s New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Rockefeller Center, SoHo and a theater night watching Wicked.

Despite the sight seeing around the city, Condon said her favorite part of the trip was the gala for the YMA winners.

During the Gala, which was held Jan. 7, Condon met Karlie Kloss, a Victoria’s Secret model who was at the event to present one of the industry awards, which were presented throughout the evening. 

“It’s always exciting to see who the celebrities are,” Thye said, citing Iris Apfel, a business woman and fashion icon, as another example.

The event, which Condon described as “professionally cocktail,” saw seats sell for $1,500 and took place in the ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where Thye said there were approximately 1,000 people in attendance.

“Where the scholarship money actually comes from is this big dinner that they have in New York City every year,” Thye said in reference to the Gala.

The gala was followed by a networking event on Jan. 8.

In attendance of the event were the scholarship winners, the educators who accompanied them and professionals from the fashion industry.

At the networking event, Condon met industry professionals such as an executive from Greg Norman, a golf apparel company, and the president of Nautica, who sat at a table with Thye during the gala.

Condon also talked to representatives from Amazon, and said this was one of the most important connections she made.

“I am looking forward to hopefully receiving an email from them about future opportunities,” Condon said.

Though Condon’s individual connections were significant, Thye said the event also greatly benefited Iowa State.

“It’s been very important for the students, but even more important for Iowa State because I have helped develop those relationships. Those are companies we go visit on our field study trip, those are companies where we have internships,” Thye said.

“They know our faces, they know about Iowa State, so it kind of keeps the ball rolling.”

Condon is not the only YMA winner to benefit from the New York City trip and events put on through the Fashion Scholarship Fund.

“If I look at the pictures of our past winners, they have done very well in the industry and it has been exciting to see how this has been a springboard to them,” Thye said. “These companies are very interested in tapping into the brightest young talent from across the United States.”