Class of 2019
“My time at Cazenovia has helped me explore my interests and expand my experiences.”
With her degree path clearly in mind, Hannah Lees searched for colleges in New York state that offered fashion merchandising as a major … and that is how she found Cazenovia College. A campus overnight with a fashion design major during her senior year of high school helped Lees make a final decision. She shares, "My first experience on campus was a visit over the summer leading into my senior year. After that I attended an open house in the winter and an overnight that following summer. The campus was beautiful in both seasons and the people I met along the way were helpful. At orientation I met the person who ended up being my best friend throughout college."

The College's recognition of Lees' achievements in high school with scholarship support also influenced her decision to select Caz. Lees says, "I had a decent GPA in high school. I was 14th in my class and I got good ACT scores. I was also involved in a lot of activities." She adds, "When I met with the admissions councilor, she informed me of what my academic achievements would allow me to receive. As I continued, I applied for the Emerson scholarship and made dean’s list so I could receive the Dean’s Scholarship." Lees also received the Founders Scholarship. The combination of scholarships made Cazenovia College less expensive than a SUNY school.

Lees graduated in May with a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Management with a specialization in Fashion Merchandising and minor in Journalism. She comments, "When choosing my major, I was looking for a field that would give me the opportunity to study culture, history, business and how it all relates to fashion. As I continued in school, I identified a certain interest in writing and picked up a minor in journalism."

Fashion History, Marketing, Fashion Promotion, Media Management, and Feature Writing were all classes Lees enjoyed while at Cazenovia. Each one helped Lees realize her interests and get an idea of what she wanted to do in the fashion industry after college. Lees shares, "It is important to take courses that may be outside of your comfort zone. In Media Management we learned about video recording and editing. I had never done that before and was nervous about learning, but in the end acquired skills that I used in my senior capstone."
Cazenovia College professors are often cited as being essential to a student’s success over their four years. Lees is no exception and she names Professor Megan Lawson-Clark as a supportive and helpful mentor. Lees recalls, "Without her willingness to reach out on my behalf I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to intern at Factory PR in New York City." Both Lawson-Clark and Dr. Heather Maloney-Stassen were helpful in ensuring Lees had all her course requirements met for both her major and minor so that she could go abroad to Canterbury for her junior year fall semester and to New York City for the spring semester. Lees reflects, "We sat down and figured out what would work for my situation." Both semesters provided tremendous experiences. Shares Lees, "I spent a semester abroad in Canterbury, England, … and was fortunate enough to be able to travel to eight countries. While there I played volleyball and met people from all over the world." In turn, over the spring semester, Lees was in New York City at Factory PR. She says, "My internship in NYC was something I had wanted to do since I learned it was an option Cazenovia offered. I knew eventually I wanted to work in NYC so gaining experience there only made sense. I learned through this experience that I wanted to attend grad school and further my education in journalism."
Reflecting upon her academic achievements while at the College, Lees is most proud of her senior capstone project. Management students may decide between a variety of senior capstone projects but most often fashion merchandisers select the annual fashion show. The show is produced by merchandisers starting with a research component in the fall. In the spring the actual planning and execution for the show begins. Lees was a team leader for marketing and shared the responsibility with two other team leaders. Lees recalls, "In tandem with my capstone I was interning for the fashion show. Between these two titles I produced a video series for the fashion show social platforms. The series was #seniorspotlightuntamed and highlighted the seniors in the fashion department. I also produced a pre-show video that played at the fashion show, wrote blog posts for the fashion show blog, and created a social media calendar that my team utilized during the semester."

Immediately after graduating in May 2019, Lees began the next chapter of her life. She is attending graduate school at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University for a Master of Science in magazine, newspaper, and online journalism. Lees is now well on her way to pursuing a career in fashion journalism. She says, "My time at Cazenovia has helped me explore my interests and expand my experiences."