Demetria Geralds

Switching majors brings success, happiness to fashion student 

After 20 years in the United States Air Force, Demetria Geralds retired from Offutt Air Force Base in 2004.

Following her time in the Air Force, Geralds did work with Nebraaska Department of Health and Human Services. She decided to continue her education in that area and enrolled at Metropolitan Community College.

“I wanted to expand my knowledge,” she said.

After some time in Health and Human Services classes, Geralds started to have a change of heart. After seeing her love of fashion and clothing, an instructor gave her the guidance she was looking for.

“In Health and Human Services, an instructor approached me and said ‘You should be in the fashion program.’ That was an important turning point. I realized it was time for me to do what I loved,” she said.

Geralds had always been interested in clothing, fashion and sewing. Her grandmother was an avid quilter, her aunt was a dressmaker. In the Air Force,  she tailored her own military uniform. She also made clothes for her Barbie dolls and her daughter’s Halloween costumes.

Geralds made the switch to the College’s Fashion Design program.

“What I’m learning is there are different elements and careers in fashion design,” she said. “It’s a really, really good program. You’re not just learning how to design clothes.”

Since making the switch, Geralds has had great success in the program. Over the summer, she entered her collection to Omaha Fashion Week as an emerging designer. Her collection included ready-to-wear and streetwear looks.

“I went from sketches on a tablet to literally on the runway,” she said. “Just to see it all play out was crazy.”

Geralds’ collection was chosen to show in the finale show where she was awarded the Emerging Designer Award. She was awarded a $500 prize from SAC Federal Credit Union.

Since winning, Geralds has put her prize money to good use. She used part of the winnings to start a scholarship fund for MCC’s Fashion Design program that helps students get the supplies they need.

“What I saw was that a lot of students weren’t able to get supplies until well into the quarter. I wanted to offer that support,” she said.

The other portion of the prize money is going toward a trip to New York City where Geralds will look into getting one of her garments produced in a larger quantity.

“One of my dresses—I call it the ‘everybody dress’ because it looks good on everybody—garnered some interest. I did some research and found a manufacturer that is willing to do a short run to see how they’ll do on the market,” Geralds said.

It’s been a whirlwind year of success for Geralds and she is so thankful for the opportunities MCC has brought to her.

“My education opens doors,” she said. “At 52 years old, I was on a track that made sense for me or that I was supposed to be on. One day, I decided that I wanted to do what I wanted to do. My education put me on a path that I know for sure that’s where I’m supposed to be.”

Caring instructors and MCC Veterans Services have been huge helps during Geralds’ educational journey at the College.

“Every instructor who has stayed after class and spent time with me, I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to those folks,” she said. “The Veterans Services office has been a great support. It’s been a wealth of resources with great guidance.”

Making the switch was a big decision that turned out to be the best thing, Geralds said, and others shouldn’t be afraid to do the same.

“People have to remember their dream,” she said. “I don’t think it’s ever too late.”

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