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February 18, 2019

Professional Attire Fund Helps Students to Dress for Success



Professional Attire Fund recipient Rodaisha James is photographed under the Laxson Auditorium arches.

As business students approach graduation, they are confronted with opportunities that require professional business attire. Whether applying for an internship while they are still in school, interviewing for their first job out of college, or presenting at a student competition, students with limited means often find it difficult to afford professional business attire.

With an average of 2,700 students at Chico State declaring business administration as their major—the largest major at CSU, Chico—the Business Student Success Center has opened its doors with the aim to provide students with the tools and resources they need to achieve their academic and professional goals. The Professional Attire Fund is one program that was created out of the necessity for students to make a positive first impression during career fairs, job interviews, business competitions, and similar occasions.

Brenden Stocksick (center right) speaking to a potential employer at Meet The Firms Accounting Career Fair.

Accounting major Brenden Stocksick (Business, ’18) was one of the first recipients of the Professional Attire Fund. Wearing his new professional business attire at the Meet the Firms Accounting Career Fair, he successfully secured two job interviews with Moss Adams LLP and Sensiba San Filippo LLP.

“With the money from the Professional Attire Fund, I was able to purchase my first suit and use this to dress the part I was trying to fill,” said Stocksick. “Through my resume, personality, and professional look I was able to successfully land two separate interviews. Going forward, the attire that generous donations have provided will continue to help me make the best impression I can as I pursue these opportunities.”

With many students facing economic hardships, providing affordable, professional attire to boost their academic and career opportunities helps relieve a struggle that many students experience. The goal is to give every student the opportunity to dress their best, regardless of their financial situation.

One of this year’s recipients, business administration major Rodaisha James, who selected an option in project management, has gained new confidence with her professional business attire, driving her to explore more opportunities than before.

Professional Attire Fund recipient Rodaisha James is photographed in the George Petersen Rose Garden

“Because of the Professional Attire Fund, I know I can now present my best self. It makes me feel like others believe in my abilities and goals, and has allowed me to focus on my skills and knowledge rather than worry about my physical appearance. The fund has been so impactful, and I hope it continues to grow to support more students like me,” James said.

Alumna Marti Easton Sutton (BS, Business, ’92) found that the goal of the Professional Attire Fund was one she could relate to both personally and professionally. For the past two years, the Sutton Family Foundation has been the largest donor to this initiative. After graduating from Chico State, Sutton moved to Washington, D.C., with the hope of working at the White House.

As a native Californian, Sutton was surprised by the heat and humidity of the East Coast as she went from one job interview to another in her only navy blue suit, a graduation gift. Knowing that first impressions are important in an interview, she would find a nearby café to cool off before her interviews. Eventually her hard work paid off, and she was able to get a job at the White House.

Sutton knows that today’s students have an even tougher time getting a start in the professional world if they cannot dress the part that employers demand. Now she works to eliminate poverty in the city of Livermore. As a commissioner on the Human Services Commission and chairperson of the Las Positas College Foundation, Sutton helps create a climate that lifts citizens and students out of poverty by supporting programs that help to transform lives.

“[My husband] John and I believe that everyone deserves an education, and financial challenges should not be a barrier to this goal,” said Sutton. “When students have worked so hard to earn a degree, they deserve interview clothes that will give them the confidence to walk into that room and get the job to launch their careers.”

In addition to the Professional Attire Fund, the Business Student Success Center offers students free tutoring services, professional development workshops, a Special Activity Club grant, a professional space to study, and so much more. You can help support students in their efforts to learn, graduate, and succeed by giving today.


Kelsey Horne
College of Business
California State University, Chico
530-898-4255
khorne3@csuchico.edu