IOScholarships and The Giving Closet surprised a STEM deserving student with celebrity wardrobe


A Closet Filled with Job Opportunities: STEM Student Gets $10,000 Designer Wardrobe

IOScholarships STEM student

In celebration of Women’s History Month, celebrity wardrobe stylist, Sam Russell and IOScholarships are supporting the next career journey of a very deserving STEM student. Alyssa Garbarino, a Latina first-generation student has been selected for a surprise wardrobe boost, valued at over $10,000. She is the 18th recipient of Sam Russell goodwill mission, The Giving Closet.

Alyssa was randomly selected through IOScholarships, the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority and underrepresented STEM students. She is studying biology at California State Channel Islands, where she leads the Neuroscience Society and wants to become a doctor despite her personal and financial struggles with the increasing costs of education.

Alyssa first heard about the platform through her best friend and said she’s been able to apply to scholarships she didn’t have access to previously. “I wasn’t able to see a lot of the private scholarships that I see now on IOScholarships,” said Garbarino, who works as a babysitter three days a week and conducts research for 10 hours each week as part of a research grant. “Now I see an opportunity for me there.” 

The more than 40 outfits were donated by name-brand designers through The Giving Closet. Russell founded the charity after working as a personal stylist to celebrities and seeing the amount of available clothing that could benefit those in need. 

Sam’s talented eye for imaging has been tapped by such recognizable personalities as Stevie Wonder, Jon Hamm, Chuck Lorre, Sophia Bush, Melora Hardin, Jeannie Mai and Donna Mills, as well as many business and social icons. But his greatest joy is in giving back through the Giving Closet. With IOScholarships he arranged the surprise event for Alyssa who is gifted with a new wardrobe that will open the door for new job opportunities.

“I don’t do this for my ego and never started it for fame. I simply connect with and understand the struggles of women who have persevered through extraordinary challenges in life. I call them survivors; my mother is one.” said Sam Russell, Founder of The Giving Closet.

There is not debate that when it comes to finding a job, appearance matters. If fact, applicants with a polished, professional appearance receive 20% higher starting salaries. Alyssa new amazing new wardrobe will give her the confidence to pursue career opportunities in her field.

“Sam is IOScholarships fashion godfather” said Maria Fernanda Trochimezuk, IOScholarships Founder. “He’s done so much for this deserving student and IOScholarships by donating his time and designer resources. He’s proving that fashion does have a heart”. 

 “I’m very thankful for IOScholarships and Sam Russell with The Giving Closet for preparing me this incredible wardrobe. With my goal of becoming a doctor to serve the community, I dedicate a lot of time to school and extracurricular activities, so I have not had the time or resources to make a wardrobe that will help me make a lasting impression in professional settings” said Alyssa Garbarino.

Among the generous designers donating items for Russell’s cause: Monica Leigh who designed a unique custom jacket for Alyssa, Z Supply Clothing, 4Funky Flavours form the United Kingdom, a luxurious necklace by Vilawain Fine Jewerly, and Jennifer Lopez’s favorite pajama brand- Single Dreamers.

A Closet Filled with Job Opportunities: STEM Student Gets $10,000 Designer Wardrobe