Fashion instructor Christina Amaral has been selected as Orange Coast College’s 2019 Faculty Member of the Year.
Amaral has worked and taught at Coast for 35 years, following her time as a student at the Costa Mesa campus. Her teaching methodology is focused heavily on mentorship, and helping students make connections to local industry that will benefit them in their future careers.
“I’m a strong believer in education and continuously working to create a connection between students, faculty and industry,” Amaral says. “I believe that if we, as faculty, take the time to get to know our students we can build solid relationships that will continue to grow and benefit many future generations.”
Over the past two years, Amaral conceptualized and managed OCC’s The Box pop-up retail space. Part of a statewide grant, The Box is housed in a shipping container on campus and invites local brands to not only sell and promote their goods to OCC students, but also offers an educational component, such as guest lectures and workshops.
Amaral also spends much of her time outside the classroom forging strong relationships with local brands, such as Hurley, Paul Frank Industries, Quiksilver, RVCA, Vans and more. Recently, she was instrumental in a partnership with Volcom to create a sustainability certificate program at OCC.
During the past three decades, Amaral has arranged countless industry field trips and internships for students, taking her students on fashion tours not just in Orange County, but also in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. “As an educator, I know that hands-on experiences give students insight to industries that they may not otherwise have access [to],” says Amaral.
Amaral also hosts networking events for current and former students, providing a space for students to connect and learn from one another. “My philosophy is that new relationships create new opportunities,” she says.
It’s these relationships with local fashion insiders that allow Amaral to connect her students to the resources they need.
“When I was in school at OCC we had a little joke, ‘it’s not who you know, it’s who Chris Amaral knows,’” says 2002 alumni and current OCC Fashion Department Coordinator Lauren Becker. “I am glad to know Chris Amaral.”
This article was released by Orange Coast College.