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“Dr. Samii Kennedy-Benson: An Exemplar of Innovation in Fashion and Education”

At INNOVATION Insights…We challenge you to be moved, to explore, reimagine, and innovate within your spheres of influence. Let's be the catalysts of change and the harbingers of progress.

I am proud to reflect on the enlightening episode featuring Dr. Samii Kennedy-Benson on the INNOVATION Insights Podcast. As her major professor for her dissertation, witnessing her growth and impact in fashion, entrepreneurship, and education has been profoundly inspiring. Samii's journey, detailed in this podcast, resonates with me professionally and personally, given our shared connection to South Carolina State University. This revered Historically Black College and University (HBCU) also nurtured my parents.

Early Inspirations

Samii's path from an eager child fascinated by fashion to a respected academic and innovator showcases the potency of passion blended with perseverance. Her early engagement with fashion and sewing, fostered by her mother's encouragement, laid a foundation for her future. This narrative speaks volumes about the influence of familial support in shaping our aspirations and successes. Samiii's narrative is a testament to the significance of nurturing creativity and ambition from a young age, a lesson that resonates deeply with my values.

Her academic and professional journey from South Carolina State University to Southern University, where she now serves as the assistant professor and interim chair of the Department of Human Sciences, is marked by a continuous pursuit of excellence and innovation. Samii’s focus on the fashion choices of Black women in the Hip Hop generation and her commitment to illuminating the experiences of Black female entrepreneurs in the fashion industry are particularly impactful. This work contributes valuable insights to academic discourse and amplifies voices often marginalized in mainstream narratives.

The Fab Lab Initiative

Establishing The Fab Lab at Southern University under Samii’s guidance is a groundbreaking initiative reflecting her innovative spirit and dedication to empowering the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs. By providing students with resources, mentorship, and practical experiences, she effectively bridges the gap between education and industry, preparing her students to navigate and transform the fashion landscape.

Dr. Kennedy Benson and her students created a garment for the Louisana Commissioner of Higher Education, showcasing The Fab Lab on a podcast and working with community members during "Fab Fridays.

Moreover, Samii’s reflections on the intersection of faith, family, and fashion in her life and career illuminate the complex tapestry of influences that guide our journeys. Her candid discussion about the challenges and rewards of balancing these aspects offers valuable perspectives for anyone striving to make meaningful contributions in their field while staying true to their core values.


Mentorship and Impact

Reflecting on Samii's episode, I am reminded of the profound impact educators can have on their students and the broader community. Her dedication to fostering a space for innovation, creativity, and representation in fashion education is a beacon of hope and inspiration. It underscores the vital role of mentorship and support in unlocking the potential of young minds eager to make their mark on the world.

In conclusion, Samii's story, as shared on the INNOVATION Insights Podcast, is a compelling narrative of resilience, innovation, and impact. Her work not only advances the fields of fashion and education but also is a powerful example of how commitment to one's passions can effect meaningful change. As her former professor and a steadfast admirer of her journey, I am filled with immense pride for her achievements and eagerly anticipate the continued evolution of her remarkable career. Samii's legacy is a testament to the enduring value of pursuing one's passions with dedication and an open heart, inspiring us all to dream bigger and reach further.

 Dr. Kennedy Benson presenting at a conference.

To view my entire interview with Samii, click here.


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