Getting to Know SAFHS: Meet L. Kaye Crippen

Kaye CrippenThe successes of the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences are largely due to its dedicated employees who are passionate about their work. Our “Getting to Know SAFHS” series highlights some of our talented faculty and staff and lets you know a little more about them.

What is your job role at UAPB?
I am a professor in the Department of Merchandising, Textiles and Design.

Where is your hometown?
Carlisle, IN.

Where did you go to college and what did you major in?
I received a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, where I double majored in textiles and merchandising with a concentration in chemistry. I received my master’s degree in textiles from Indiana State University and my doctoral degree in textiles from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy introducing students to the study of textiles and helping them find internships and positions in the field. I also enjoy creating new learning activities for the classroom and conducting research.

Describe your career before you came to UAPB.
I was interested in textile science before women were frequently hired in the industry. I started working in retailing but quickly went back to school to obtain my master’s degree. With few opportunities for women in the textile industry, I saw university teaching as a possibility so I became an associate professor at California State University, Los Angeles.

I then moved to University of Houston to work with my graduate school professor, who introduced me to the NASA scientist who did much of original space suit design. We then started the first functional textile product design program at the university.

I was later offered a position as a research chemist at DuPont and transitioned to marketing-based activities, which included global product development. During this time I started working with manufacturers in Asia and eventually moved to Singapore, where I taught management of new product development in the Business School at the National University of Singapore for five years. I then moved to Indonesia on a governmental research permit and worked in private consulting until I returned to Southern California to continue consulting. I eventually returned to teaching textiles when I started working at UAPB in 2009.

If you weren’t working at UAPB, what would your dream job be?
I would be running an idea and innovation consulting company for developing new sports and functional performance products.

What are your hobbies outside of work?
I collect traditional handmade textiles and study the craftsmen and their techniques. I like cooking but it is difficult to find the exotic ingredients I need.

Do you have a favorite movie or book?
I read lots of cultural books, some of which are related to textiles from exotic locations. I am currently reading “Empire of Cotton: A Global History” by Sven Beckert.

If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?
I would go back to my house in Dana Point, CA, one of the two towns in the U.S. with the most Mediterranean climate.

What is one goal you’d like to accomplish during your lifetime?
I want to help people learn and have confidence that they can accomplish more than they think is possible.

Who is your hero?
My former graduate school professors are my heroes. The professor who helped me complete the master’s degree program is still teaching at the University of Houston and we continue to collaborate with each other.

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