Amazing Students

Nicole Crawford

Nicole Crawford (Photo by Chad Osburn/UGA taken in December 2019)

(Originally published Jan. 5, 2020)

As a student, Nicole Crawford has helped make positive changes as an ambassador in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Her next stop is to leave her mark in the New York City fashion industry.

Arlington, TX

High school:
Lamar High School

Current employment: 
The little girl that I babysit had me fill out a “Babysitter Profile” of sorts just for fun, which I thought was hilarious. Among questions about my friends, siblings and what I do for fun, there was a blank next to “Occupation” so obviously I put “babysitter” but it really got me to realize that I hold a hodgepodge of small jobs and positions, which is so fun to me!

I am currently working at a new hair salon in Pulaski Heights called Styles at Five Salon. I am the front end manager and my responsibilities include managing social media, scheduling appointments and bringing new ideas to the table.

In addition, I run a small airbrush spray tan business and travel wherever people need me. This opportunity has been so great for me and has allowed me to take the entrepreneurship skills that I have learned in school and really apply them.

Family ties to UGA:
Although my blood runs in Texas, my parents graciously allowed me to tour a few out of state colleges. I can proudly say that I did not tour any other SEC schools, and I will never forget when we finished our tour at Bolton Dining Commons and my dad stated, “I wish I went here.” It was in that moment that I knew that I would be a Georgia Bulldog.

Expected graduation: 
Spring 2020

Degree objective:
B.S.F.C.S. in fashion merchandising; B.S.F.C.S. in consumer journalism

Other degrees:
Certificate in the New Media Institute

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
Everything that I have done or am a part of is because of other people. As I write about these things, I want to highlight these other people because they are the ones with whom I get to interact and who push me each day to be the best I can be.

Perhaps the biggest honor that I have had in college is being the president of Student Merchandising Association for this year. I received this honor after being the co-head of business relations last year with the now vice president, Courtney Koop. She has been my rock in this whole process. Together we lead over 50 people who are in different committees, consisting of Business Relations, Public Relations, Styling, and Events. Every year we put on a video lookbook and a philanthropic fashion show. This year, our philanthropy is Food2Kids, and I am very proud to be working with them. Some other things that we do as an organization include styling for the project safe thrift store and the newly opened student closet.

This year, I am a Family and Consumer Sciences Student Ambassador. This is something that I wish I had participated in way earlier than just my senior year. When I was home for spring break last year, I met with Professor Emerita and past FACS Dean Sharon Nickols in Dallas. She encouraged me to be the voice of fashion merchandising in Family and Consumer Sciences. I have made that my mission this year. Being a FACS ambassador has given me the opportunity to do this and to do things like give prospective students tours and to interact with people like Melissa Garber, the assistant director in the Student Success and Advising Center. Melissa has helped me put on things like a breakfast to honor the senior fashion merchandising students and has encouraged us to do service projects as a group.

In spring 2019, I was in a class offered in TMI called “Retail Entrepreneurship.” This class runs the mobile pop-up shop known on campus as Couture a la Cart. My favorite part about the class is that it runs just like a real business, down to every student having a different job position. I was chosen as the general manager which was very rewarding. I was able to work with every team which gave me the opportunity to see the intricacies of how a small business is run. Our goal every year is to break even so that the next year can have enough money to get started. This year we had a record-breaking year, which was all made possible by the energy and passion of my classmates and also Clair McClure. Dr. Clair is one of the wisest people that I know. In the first few weeks of the class, we would come to her with questions, and she would say that it is up to us completely. At first, this seemed frustrating, but then we realized that she wanted us to make decisions about the business on our own. Overall, this was the best class that I have taken at UGA, and I am excited to see how the class continues to grow throughout the years.

In spring 2019, a small group of students and I, along with a bold faculty member, Dee Warmath, advocated to rebrand our entire major of consumer journalism. This included the change of the name (to social entrepreneurship), changes to courses students can take, and changes to other colleges with which we can have partnerships. It was crazy to me that we were working on something that we would not personally benefit from at all. That was the humbling aspect. Little did I know that this experience would open the door for me to meet several outstanding people that played a part in the history of Family and Consumer Sciences at UGA. I was given the task of pulling together historical artifacts, and through that, I learned a lot about the history of our major and the college of Family and Consumer Sciences. This was the perfect time to be doing this, because our college was celebrating its 100th year. I have had the pleasure of seeing how our efforts have been incorporated. I am proud to say that there is a new class called “Intro to Social Entrepreneurship” in fall 2019 that resulted from our efforts. I am excited to see how everything will continue to evolve in the coming semesters.

In fall 2017, I went on the Cortona, Italy, study abroad. That semester shaped my love for UGA and all that it has to offer. Every other fall semester, professor Katalin Medvedev leads a group of fashion students. I took “Fashion: Why is it Meaningful” and “The History of Italian Fashion.” As a group, we put together video lookbook where we worked with some local businesses.

Additionally, I have received the Zena Costa Brown scholarship, the Grace Hartley Scholarship and a scholarship for my internship in New York this past summer through the Georgia Soft Goods Education Foundation. This year I competed in a group competition project through the National Retail Federation, and although we did not win, my group and I were invited to go to the convention in January 2020 with some of the top retail companies. My education has been enriched by my membership in Delta Delta Delta, where I have served as the house manager and on the recruitment team.

I chose to attend UGA because … 
I knew that Family and Consumer Sciences had a notable fashion merchandising program, but I did not know of all of the opportunities that UGA would present to me until I started school in fall 2016. I remember someone saying to me on my tour of FACS that I would be able to do consumer journalism alongside fashion merchandising and finish in four years. I also remember that they mentioned that out-of-state students receive in-state tuition when they study abroad, which was also a plus. Being from out-of-state, this is a question that I get asked a lot, but honestly, I just really felt at home here and each day when I walk on to campus, that feeling is confirmed.

My favorite things to do on campus are …
One of my favorite things to do on campus is to explore new places. I get anxious thinking that after almost four years here, there are still some buildings and places on campus that I have not explored. For example, I have been wanting to go to the mysterious creamery that everyone talks about! Other than that, I really try to walk everywhere on campus, because it allows me to see more people that I would not see if I was just riding the bus.

When I have free time, I like … 
Any free time that I have I love to fill with something that is at least a little bit productive like going to the gym or talking on the phone to a friend or family member from home. I try to devote at least one hour per week to professional development and one hour per week toward learning something new on LinkedIn Learning. Other than that, I am a very avid podcast listener. You name it, I have probably listened to it.

Nicole Crawford (Photo by Chad Osburn/UGA taken in December 2019)

The craziest thing I’ve done is … 
In summer 2016, right before I started at UGA, my family and I took a vacation to Belize. My family and I are all certified scuba divers and we wanted to do a famous dive in the Great Blue Hole about four hours off the mainland. The Blue Hole dive consists of descending to around 150 feet in about 20 minutes to see massive stalactites and then slowly ascending to the surface. The entire dive is not super long, but it was kind of scary because my sister and I accidentally went about 180 feet. We ended up being OK but I remember being scared for most of the time.

My favorite place to study is … 
My favorite place to study WAS Two Story Coffee Shop in Five Points. Rest in Peace. On a more serious note, I feel like I cannot study in the same place twice. I love to change things up because that is how I am the most productive. You can usually find me working on projects more than studying for tests in the New Media Institute in the Journalism Building or at my school computer in Barrow Hall.

My favorite professor is …
I know this is annoying, but I have two. However, they go hand in hand. I will never be able to give enough credit to my two role models: Clair McClure and Laura McAndrews. Not only are they incredibly smart and great at what they do, but they are also best friends with each other, and I know that everyone in fashion merchandising would agree that they foster a spirit of community and helpfulness. I am so proud to know them and feel lucky to get to see them every day.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with … 
Because I am away from my friends and family most of the time, I would love to spend an afternoon with all of my loved ones all together. We could have a big meal and play board games and just have some quality time. College has taught me to cherish your time with your loved ones so I think this is who I would share an afternoon with.

If I knew I could not fail, I would …
I would love to be able to take all of the big exams from different industries (and do well on them), so that I could know at least a little about everything. Like the CPA, bar exam, MCAT, even the cosmetology exam! This way, when interacting with people in different industries, I would be able to at least try to understand what they mean.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to … 
I would open a brick and mortar store on campus for the fashion and interiors students to operate. This would be kind of similar to Couture a la Cart but open all year round and not just for a class. I think this would teach every student critical entrepreneurship skills.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it? 
I’m passionate about helping people and uplifting the underdog. Every single move that I make is for my dream of opening a nonprofit organization one day.

My dream is to open a business that employs inner-city teenagers who want to work in the fashion industry. I would have them make things like jewelry or clothing that they could sell and give them an hourly wage and some sort of scholarship to attend college and follow their own dreams. To be able to do this and properly mentor them, I want to be able to gain a bunch of different experiences and meet a lot of people. Being a student at UGA has helped me tremendously in this endeavor. I really feel like I have had a chance to experience a wide variety of things, and this has fostered a sense of hunger for new things in me.

After graduation, I will be living in New York City, and I know that this will be a great way for me to make new connections.

After graduation, I plan to … 
I am getting married on Aug. 1, 2020, in Dallas, Texas, and then we will be off to New York City. I recently got an offer to work at Kleinfeld Bridal, where I interned this summer, as a bridal consultant. I am so excited to be working in the bridal industry!

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be …
One thing that I will always remember is watching the 2018 National Championship with all of my friends in Stegeman. I had just gotten back from Italy, and I had not been to a football game that season. Although the outcome was not what we wanted, I had so much fun with my friends, and I will always remember it.