Student Spotlight: Dana Palumbo

Tell us about yourself.

I am a Pittsburgh native from Cranberry Township. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising at Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. During my four years at Kent State University, I had the opportunity to study in Paris and New York City, where I was exposed to multiple aspects and roles within the apparel and textile industry. Additionally, I had the opportunity to intern in Trend Research at Iconix Brand Group and in Sales Planning at L’Oreal. In these internship roles, I conducted market research for various national accounts, which provided the opportunity to work with retailing organizations such as Walmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Walgreens, and Kroger. These experiences provided an interesting and intimate view of the inner workings of the retail industry, which shaped my career and career interests.

After graduating from Kent State University, I accepted a position within inventory planning at American Eagle Outfitters, giving me the opportunity to return to Pittsburgh. As an Inventory Planner at AEO, I was responsible for developing allocation plans and deployment strategies in the aerie Accessories, Beauty and Bralette departments. I found this work challenging and rewarding but was inspired to pursue my MBA in Sustainable Business Practices because I began recognizing the significant need and opportunity within the retailing market for businesses to adopt practical solutions that maximize profitability while minimizing negative environmental and social‐economic impacts. My goal coming out of this program is to have the foundational knowledge to help retailers be part of the solution in creating a more sustainable world.

What is one of your favorite things to do in Pittsburgh?

Exploring Pittsburgh. With ninety distinct neighborhoods and a strategic confluence that has played a role in defining much of our nation’s history, I would argue Pittsburgh is one of the most eclectic and interesting cities in the US. Despite living in the region for almost fifteen years, I seem to learn something new about this city every day!

What skill would you like to master?

Mastering my Aunt Nora’s homemade pasta and marinara sauce recipe. When she was alive, my Aunt Nora would have the entire extended family at her house on Sundays following mass for homemade spaghetti and meatballs. It’s a family tradition I want to revive this year, because I loved how it brought everyone together before beginning another busy week.

What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?

Over the last twenty years, the retail industry has faced major disruptions: the growth of e-commerce, globalization of supply chains and an increase in speed to market. Brands are constantly evaluating how to best meet their customers’ needs, and as a result, there has been an impressive amount of innovation that has redefined how consumers shop for products. As companies respond to customer pressure for increased transparency within the sourcing and production process, I am excited to see how companies will innovate to respond to these new challenges. I look forward to using my Duquesne University education to help guide companies in adopting more sustainable solutions.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

In December of 2018, I embarked on a solo backpacking trip to Calascio, Italy. I have spent the last ten years tracking my family’s genealogy and wanted to visit this particular village because it was where my great-great-grandfather was born. The village was located in a remote part of the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. In order to reach the village, I had to rely on local bus routes, occasionally hiking from one bus stop to the next. The effort was worth it; I arrived at the most picturesque town with stunning views of the Apennines Mountains. After befriending a few of the locals, I was even introduced to one of my cousins and had the opportunity to tour my great‐great grandfather’s home! It was a deeply moving experience I will never forget.

What is the best way to start the day?

A thoughtful article and a cup of coffee.