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Wall of Fame

The Department inaugurated its "Wall of Fame" of successful alumnae/i with the first 'Spring Splash' Fashion Show/Fund Raiser in 2004.  Three new inductees were announced at the 2005 event.  The aim is to showcase the successful careers that TMD graduates have developed.  If you would like to nominate someone for inclusion (maybe even yourself!) please contact Linda Welters

Evelyn Siefert (Kennedy) Commentucci

Evelyn Siefert (Kennedy) Commentucci in 1970 opened Evelyn of Sewtique, a sewing service center in Groton, Connecticut.  It now has a staff of eight and offers services from sewing machine repair to custom alterations to restoration of heirloom apparel and textiles.  Mrs. Commentucci has a BS and MS from URI.  She focused her master's thesis research on teaching self-help skills to physically disabled children and in 1978 founded P.R.I.D.E. Foundation, Inc. to "Promote Real Independence for the Disabled and Elderly."  Mrs. Commentucci has taught many seminars as far away as Japan and Australia, written teaching manuals, and designed special clothing to meet the needs of the elderly and handicapped.  She wrote Dressing with Pride: Clothing Changes for Special Needs, published by P.R.I.D.E. and continues to meet with organizations to talk about appropriate wardrobes for people in wheelchairs, on crutches, or with limited motion.  Mrs. Commentucci has served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Rhode Island Foundation since 1985.  She and her husband live in Gales Ferry, Connecticut. She is a new member of the URI Textile Advisory Board.

Claudia P. Iannuccilli 

Claudia P. Iannuccilli is the Associate Textile and Costume Conservator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and has been in the Conservation and Collection Management Department at the MFA since receiving her Master's degree in 1994 from URI's TMD department.  She earlier received a bachelor's degree at URI in textiles and clothing with a minor in costume design from the Theatre Department.  With this background, Mrs. Iannuccilli was the Costume Supervisor and Designer in the Theatre Department at the Community College of Rhode Island for seven years.  She is an active member of the American Institute for Conservation, ASTM, Costume Society of America, and North American Textile Conservation Conference, serving on the Board of Directors of the latter two.  She has published articles on making buckram mounts for children's fashions and as a member of the MFA's Disaster Preparedness Team wrote the Emergency Action Plan for the Department and Collection of Textiles and Fashion Art.  Mrs. Iannuccilli and her husband live in East Greenwich, Rhode Island and have three children, one of whom is a student at URI.  She has been on the URI Textile Advisory Board for two years.

Lauren Keach

Lauren Keach has been with Victoria Secret Stores Design Studio in New York for three years as a Pre-production Fabrics Technician.  She works with designers in fabric development, writes specifications, makes sure fabrics fit the company's regulatory standards, and approves fabrics for markets in the Western Hemisphere and Europe.  Prior to working for Victoria Secret Stores, Lauren was Product Manager for Jockey Active Wear for Women at Jacques Moret in New York and with Warnaco, Inc. in Westerly, Rhode Island.  She graduated from URI in 1998 with an emphasis in textile science.  Ms. Keach lives in New York

Cynthia Cooper

Cynthia Cooper earned an MS degree from TMD with a concentration in historic costume and textiles in 1993. Her thesis, "Brilliant and Instructive Spectacles: Canada's Fancy Dress Balls, 1876-1898" was one of the most successful theses ever to emanate from the TMD Department. Cynthia published her work first as an article in the 1995 issue of Dress, the journal of the Costume Society of America (CSA), then as a book in 1997. Her thesis spawned a major exhibition for which she was guest curator at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec. Cynthia has held the title of Curator of Costume and Textiles at the McCord Museum in Montreal, Quebec since 1998. Prior, she was curator of costume at the Marsil Museum in St. Lambert, Quebec. Cynthia won the prestigious CSA Richard Martin Award in 2003 for excellence in the exhibition of costume for an exhibition entitled "Clothes Make the MAN." This exhibition was presented at the McCord and traveled to two other Canadian sites. She has lectured and published on a variety of costume-related subjects. Her current research topic is the so-called Roman sash, a Victorian-era accessory.
Nancy Olson Nancy Olson graduated from URI in 1978 with a BS degree in Textiles, Clothing and Related Art. She began working at Kenyon Consumer Products in West Kingston, Rhode Island where she is still employed 27 years later. Kenyon is a leading manufacturer of camping accessories, technical thermal underwear, and fleece and pile garments and accessories. Nancy started in Kenyon's school education program, which was designed to bring outdoor related sewing projects known as K-Kits to schools. Since then, she has worked in a variety of capacities at Kenyon, from sourcing camping accessories lines to developing product specification sheets and managing sales. She schedules and attends trade shows, works with retailers to develop private label fleece products, and is responsible for quality control. She serves as the liaison with military bases and government procurement offices. Nancy has supervised TMD student internships, delivered lectures in TMD classes and seminars, and served on the Textile Advisory Board from 1996 to 2004. She was president of TAB from 1998 to 2000. She also assisted in procuring equipment for the apparel lab.

Shelley Wollseiffen

Shelley Brehm Wollseiffen graduated from URI in 1979 with a degree in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. Her entire career has been with the Cranston Print Works Company first at the Cranston plant, then in Webster, Massachusetts. She was employed as a lab technician from 1979 to 1982, becoming a project leader for color computing from 1982 to 1984. In 1984 she became quality control lab supervisor, a position she held until 1998 when she moved to a QC technologist position at the Webster plant. She serves as Divisional Representative on the Cranston Foundation Trustee Committee and is on the ESOP Advisory Committee. She has been a member of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists for 24 years. Shelley was nominated for the award by Richard Malachowski, who stated: "Her knowledge and experience regarding end use performance and the needs of the customer has helped Cranston Print Works develop strong brand recognition and influential market positioning of their products. Her dedicated work over the past 26 years has helped support the overall continuation of the textile industry in the United States."

Taylor Hastie

Taylor Hastie is the Director of Design and Trend for Expo Design Center and the Home Depot at their Atlanta headquarters. She is involved in product development and trend forecasting in the US and overseas. One of her recent projects was designing the new kitchen for the "Oprah" show. She earned both a BS in 1987 and an MS in 1990 from the TMD Department. She taught college-level courses before joining Williams-Sonoma as Senior Manager of Product Development in 1997. She moved to Hallmark, Inc. as Creative Director in 2001, and joined Martha Stewar's Catalog for Living as Vice President of Product Development in 2002. She maintains a home in Newport, Rhode Island and is the mother of Justin Fargas, running back for the Oakland Raiders.


Sharon Soderberg Wilbur

Sharon Soderburg Wilbur graduated in 1979 with a BS in Textiles, Clothing and Related Art. She has worked in the New England textile industry since graduation, starting at Kenyon Industries where she performed physical testing on fabrics. She then moved to The Worcester Company, a manufacturer of fine worsted fabrics, where she eventually became Lab Director. When The Worcester Company closed, Sharon returned to Kenyon Industries where today she is Technical Director. Kenyon Industries produces dyed and coated fabrics for the military, sailcloth, and fabrics for backpacks. She has been an active member of the New England section of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists.

Sarah Peabody Turnbaugh

Sarah Peabody Turnbaugh received her MS in Textiles, Clothing and Related Art in 1977, writing her thesis on Anasazi baskets. This year she is retiring from her position as Director of the Museum of Primitive Art and Culture in Peace Dale after thirty years of service. She began in the 1970s cataloging a collection of artifacts originally assembled by Rowland G. Hazard II. Over the years, Sarah worked to open the Museum to school groups and the public, and developed a lecture series and study tours. She will continue as curator and collection manager. Internationally known, she has published articles and books on Native baskets, jewelry, and pottery as sole author or jointly with her husband Dr. William Turnbaugh, URI Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, who also is a friend of TMD.


Jennifer Hsiu-Yung Lin

Jennifer Hsiu-Yung Lin graduated in 1978 with a MS in Textiles, Clothing and Related Art. She came to URI with a bachelor's degree from Fu Jen University in Taiwan. After receiving her MS, she took patternmaking classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Since then, she has worked as a patternmaker for a number of companies including Attitudes by Jendrian Inc., McCall Pattern Company, Trans Fashion Industries Inc., and Simonton Studio - Paris Suits Ltd. She developed computer patternmaking skills early on and has experience with both the Gerber and Lectra Systems. She is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the FIT where she teaches computer patternmaking.

Michelle Burchill Jonason

Michelle Burchill Jonason graduated in 1995 with a BS in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. She is currently production manager at Nanette Lepore in New York City where she oversees all aspects of production and a staff of thirteen. She has also been a fabric buyer for Betsey Johnson and color coordinator for Dyersburg Corporation. While at URI, Michelle made the Dean's List regularly and received numerous scholarships, awards and honor society memberships. She studied abroad and interned at three different companies - Worcester Company, French Connection, and Laura Ashley - where she honed skills in the both fashion and the coloration of textiles.

Shala Ranieri

Shala Ranieri graduated from URI in 2001 with a BS in Textile Marketing. She has been with Home Goods, a division of TJX Companies, for the past 4 1/2 years. She began in the Corporate Merchandise Training Program as an Allocation Analyst where she analyzed trends and forecast sales as well as acting as a liaison between Distribution Centers and Buyers. She quickly moved up the career ladder to Planning Manager where she worked with Merchandise Managers and Buyers to develop and execute business strategies. She is currently a Buyer and travels both domestically and internationally to acquire and develop products for the stores. She rose quickly to the position of Buyer, for which we recognize her.