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Student of the Month

March Student of the Month: Leah Kortenkamp

What is your background?: I grew up in Center Point, Iowa and graduated from Center Point-Urbana High School. My family consists of my dad and mom, Michael and Rhonda, and my three siblings, Adam, Joanna, and Tayler.

What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: When touring this campus, I instantly felt comfortable with my surroundings. I loved the feeling of having smaller classes to make better connections with my peers and professors. Growing up in a small town made me realize how much Kirkwood resembles a second home.

What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: My program of study is Apparel Merchandising and Design. At a young age I was taught how to sew by my grandmother and have always had the love for making my own garments since. Continuing this experience at Kirkwood opened my mind to all the endless possibilities of going into the fashion industry.

Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: I am involved in a few organizations on campus as well as participating in projects for the apparel program:

BRICOLAGE (our digital fashion magazine):

  • Editor-in-Chief of Issue #3 of BRICOLAGE
  • Beauty Editor of Issue #4 of BRICOLAGE

I chose these positions since I’ve always wanted to see the finished product from cover to cover. Being in these positions has made me realize how much hard work goes into making the magazine a success.

President of en Vogue Society:

Joining the fashion club was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love getting to know the first-year fashion students and coming up with ideas to make the apparel program a place all people can enjoy.

Sewing Lab Assistant:

I am the sewing lab assistant for Sewn Product Analysis class. This is an opportunity for me to demonstrate leadership skills and mentor students. I help students work on sewing samples and construct garments. I answer any questions they have about their projects to help guide them in the right direction.

There are two special projects that I had the privilege of working on over the past year. The first project was angel gowns that were upcycled from wedding dresses. These gowns will be donated to nearby hospitals for deceased infants. As for the second project, I am creating an adaptive wear outfit for my sister Tayler, who has autism.

Are you involved in anything off of campus?: I spend most of my time working at a company called Board and Brush Creative Studio. Some weekends I volunteer at the Pancake Breakfast for the American Legion serving to all who are welcome.

What do you do for fun?: For fun, I enjoy sewing my own clothing, spending time with friends and family, going on adventures, working out, and getting to meet new people.

Where do you see yourself in five years?: In five years, I see myself opening my own boutique business. I hope to be selling my own clothing designs. I can’t wait to see where my journey will continue after graduating from Kirkwood this spring!