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Switching majors brings success, happiness to fashion student

Demetria Geralds

After 20 years in the United States Air Force, Demetria Geralds retired from Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska in 2004.
 
After her retirement, Geralds worked for the Nebraska 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. 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 has always been interested in clothing, fashion, and sewing.  She was trained by her grandmother an avid quilter and her aunt, a dressmaker.  She tailored her own military uniforms and designed her daughter's dresses.
 
Geralds made the switch to the College’s Fashion Design program.
 
“There are different careers within fashion design,” she said. “MCC has an amazing program where you learn not only the design aspect but the business of fashion as well.”
 
Since making the switch, Geralds has had great success in the program. Over the summer, she showed her first streetwear collection at Omaha Fashion Week (OFW).
 
“I saw my sketches brought to life on the runway,” she said. “Just to see it all play out was amazing.”
 
Geralds’ collection was chosen to show in the OFW finale show. She was also awarded as a nightly Emerging Designer and received a $500 cash 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.
 
“I recognized that a lot of students weren’t able to get needed supplies until well into the quarter. I wanted to offer some 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 ‘Every Body 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 my dress does 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 has opened doors for me,” she said. “At 52 years old, I was on a track that made sense for me based on my work history. One day, I decided that I wanted to do what I enjoyed.” My education has helped turn my hobby into a career."
 
Caring instructors, Veterans Services, and a host of supportive classmates have made a huge impact on Geralds' educational journey at the College.
 
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.
 
“I don’t think it's ever too late to dream big.”