Born and raised in Philadelphia, Brittany Rae Buckmire was surrounded by inspiration. She spent her childhood exploring thought-provoking art, diverse cultures, and the vibrant energy the state was known for. Naturally, she developed a passion for fashion. As a high-schooler, she collected magazines from across the globe, studied runway shows, watched documentaries, leveraged literature to learn from the greats, and took on summer internships in New York City.
When the time came to look into universities, she wanted one with a strong sense of community that could help her nurture her craft. Buckmire longed to find an institution close to home that exemplified Philadelphia’s freedom to explore and discover. Thomas Jefferson University’s School of Business made perfect sense and its BS in Fashion Merchandising and Management aptly complemented her aspirations.
“While I loved the creative, design-driven sides of the industry, I was also really attracted to the behind-the-scenes business aspects and I wanted a program that allowed me the freedom and flexibility to continue exploring both paths,” Buckmire says.
This is Jefferson’s signature transdisciplinary approach to learning. Here, both undergraduate and graduate students engage with various disciplines to gain a broader understanding of many perspectives. In the process, they develop the critical decision-making skills needed to solve complex problems. Delivery is customizable as well with some courses offered online or in hybrid mode
Buckmire’s Jefferson experience entailed moving from her business marketing class to the sewing studio every now and then. “These switches helped me see end-to-end how a product comes to life, from sourcing to production to sales,” she enthuses. “Each intimate classroom felt like it was designed to set me up for success on my first day on the job.”
Personalized attention is a Jefferson hallmark that ensures every learner enjoys the expert guidance they deserve. Buckmire forged enduring relationships with several professors who made it their mission to not just teach but nurture as well. “They are all incredible professionals who have invested so much in my education, personal development, and career path during my time as an undergrad and beyond!” she says.
Their guidance was crucial when Buckmire embarked on her internships at Skai Blue Media and United By Blue. In true Nexus Learning fashion — Jefferson’s commitment to experiential learning — she used these placements as an opportunity to boost her skills in professionalism, communication, and industry competencies. “It was really rewarding seeing things I learned in class come to life in a real-world context,” she says.
“I loved studying in Philadelphia because I felt like there were lots of opportunities to excel at the university while maturing as a leader and building a strong professional network beyond campus. The city is big with lots of energy and excitement yet it still exudes enough intimacy for me to feel a strong sense of belonging.”
Today, Buckmire is a senior buyer at Stitch Fix for W’s Activewear. She leads a team of buyers in ensuring people are matched with the products they seek. Her work revolves around data and algorithms, working closely with various parties, and curating a world-class activewear assortment.
Cynthia Matje, a fellow Philadelphia native has a similarly impressive story to tell. Her draw to Jefferson also began with a longing to study in an environment just as tranquil as it is vibrant. “The East Falls Campus of Jefferson was, to me, the perfect compromise between the two,” she says. “It boasts a peaceful, scenic campus atmosphere with a suburban feel located in Philadelphia, a stone’s throw from Center City.”
Growing up in a connected community inspired her interest in people’s stories and backgrounds. Matje was compelled to make a career out of the appreciation she felt for the uniqueness of culture, tradition, and family history that exists outside her immediate surroundings. Curiosity led to her decision to pursue a BS in International Business at Jefferson — the package came with her advisor’s keen guidance.
“The program director for international business pushed me to take full advantage of everything Jefferson had to offer, specifically the international business curriculum and the study abroad program,” Matje says. The trip transported her to the University of Salamanca in Spain. Her advisor also encouraged her to join the School of Business Advisory Board and engage with students on campus for career advice and mentorship.
The collective experience primed Matje for leadership. Before landing her current role as Senior Vice President of Citizens Commercial Banking, she added value at JP Morgan Chase, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Wells Fargo Capital Finance.
“The professors and curriculum at Jefferson provided me with a solid foundation in accounting and finance, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, and fostered my ability to work as a strong contributor on any given team,” she shares. “These are core strengths that I’ve carried with me through my career and have served me well.”