Missouri State University
Cathy Starr

Cathy Starr

  • Assistant Professor
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • B.S. - Apparel Design, Oklahoma State University
  • M.S. - Design, Housing and Merchandising OSU
  • Ph.D. - Human Environmental Studies, OSU

Cathy Starr’s goal as an assistant professor in Missouri State’s fashion and interior design program is to breathe life into the subject matter she presents to her students.

New faculty member brings unique interest

“I truly enjoy our students,” Starr said. “I am very interactive with my students. I try to bring the topic to life.”

Before joining the faculty, a colleague reviewing the Missouri State University fashion program told Starr she would be a great addition to it. The program’s growth and success played a big part in her decision to pursue a position here. Immediately prior to teaching at Missouri State, Starr completed her Ph.D. in human environmental sciences at Oklahoma State University. During her studies, Starr’s specialized research interests focused on material component and design features of protective apparel for firefighters, hazardous materials handlers, law enforcement professionals, and lifeguards.

“I knew that the program was focusing on product development which coincides with the direction of the fashion industry,” Starr said. “I had heard good things about Missouri State’s fashion program, and I knew their designers were doing well at competitions.”

Starr teaches her students about textile science, historical costume and draping. “I ask students to think about their life experiences and to apply the information that we are learning to those situations,” she said. Her own life experiences made an impact on her life’s work.

“My mother taught me to sew,” Starr said. “I don’t remember a time that we didn’t have a new piece of fabric or pattern ready to be started. I find that I am happiest when I am creating something, no mater what technique I use.”

As a teacher, Starr now brings everything she learned about fabric to her students.

“I see my role as a bridge between the text and the students,” she said. “I use life stories to help students understand the information that we are studying. It is my job to teach the topic in such a way that most students can learn.”

Completing her first year as a professor at MSU, Starr has mentored a number of fashion design and merchandising students to success.

“I would have to say that the recent fashion show and the competition our students did so well in are the outstanding moments of my first year here at MSU,” she said. Seven MSU students placed in the Fashion Group International of Kansas City’s recent annual competition.

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