LuAnn Gaskill, professor of apparel in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international outreach at Virginia Tech. Recipients are selected based on their contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech and the global impact, significance, and sustainability of their work. Recipients are awarded $2,000.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2000, Gaskill integrates international and global perspectives into all her professional endeavors.

To illustrate, Gaskill supported an international project by being the designer, patternmaker, and prototype developer for African backpacks called Taaluma Totes. Prototype packs were sent to Uganda where they will be produced through community workshops and then marketed and sold in the United States. Profits will be returned to the Uganda community to support educational scholarships.

“Dr. Gaskill spent countless hours working with our team to develop prototypes and patterns to send to Uganda in order to ramp up local production efforts there,” wrote Jack DuFour, co-founder of Taaluma Totes, in a letter of nomination. “Her enthusiasm for this project has been unmatched. She has done all of this on a volunteer basis, out of her excitement for international development and outreach.”

In collaboration with the director of the Small Business Clinic at the University of Botswana, Gaskill engaged in scholarship focused on female-based small businesses, including women of the Oodi Weavers, and their challenges in business sustainability pertinent to product and process in a global context. 

She co-directed an international conference of the International Textile and Apparel Association to connect business and industry and academia which resulted in attendance exceeding 500 participants from nine countries. 

In addition, Gaskill frequently collaborates with Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Clothing and Textile Institute and currently is the only scholar from the United States to serve as an academic advisor.

“As her colleague and someone who values international pursuits, I recognize the extra commitment international collaborations take,” wrote Calvin Wong, associate head of the Institute of Textiles and Clothing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in a nomination letter. “Her contributions have brought value to the lives of those with whom she works.”

For many years, Gaskill has led the European Fashion Study Abroad program for Virginia Tech students in the apparel program. The program has been important in increasing student awareness of the international scope of the design and production of apparel products.

Gaskill received a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green University, a master’s degree from Ohio University, and a doctoral degree from Ohio State University.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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