Missouri State University
Michelle Kelsay-Mahler

Michelle Kelsay-Mahler

Pursuing dual majors in fashion design and fashion merchandising, Michelle Kelsay is maximizing her creative ability while learning how to be a great businessperson at the same time.

Entrepreneurial spirit and creative passion fuel student

Kelsay, a junior in Missouri State’s fashion and interior design program, chose to prepare for a career in fashion because of her love for art. “I have always been creative and like to present new ideas,” she said. “I tried looking into different fields like art and graphic design. Once I discovered fashion and design, everything seemed right. I feel like God gave me a talent and I will embrace it throughout life.”

Working toward two majors, Kelsay said a number of options would be available to her. “I believe I will feel comfortable working in a number of areas in fashion,” she said. Her classroom experiences could be quite comparable.

“My design professor, Mrs. Bailey, has had the most impact on me because of my growth in sewing skills,” Kelsay said. “Ms. McKelvie, my illustration professor, motivated me to break through my design box and see more in inspiration. And Gerri Mack, my advanced product development professor, is an actual designer so she has a lot of knowledge in growing a business. She is a mentor to me.”

Kelsay will be taking what she’s learned in the classroom and applying it at two future internships, one with David’s Bridal and the other in doing design and working directly with Professor Mack in her children’s clothing design company.

Learning experiences outside the classroom have made an impact on Kelsay. As a member of the MSU Association of Fashion and Design, she has volunteered for events such as the Catwalk for the Cure Fashion Show, held for breast cancer awareness, and developed a collection with other design students for the Springfield Fall into Ala Mode Fashion Show. Career days in Kansas City have been a big perk for Kelsay.

“The Career Days are a great opportunity to network with any of the presenters,” she said. “There are usually a variety of speakers who have either worked in a big corporation or own their own business. It is really nice to hear from experience what the industry is like – good and bad.”

What was the one thing that enticed Kelsay the most to pursue these fashion majors at Missouri State University? The City of Springfield. As a native of Ellington, Mo., Kelsay fell in love with Springfield on her first visit.

“I’m from a small town, and Springfield is a great city.”

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