Kalina Deng's bachelor's degree in philosophy prepared her to flourish in the intellectual community of Parsons' MA Fashion Studies program. There her faculty mentors at the forefront of a growing field encouraged Deng to draw on her immigrant experience growing up in rural Mississippi for her investigations into race, identity, and self-presentation.
The support catalyzed Deng's creative research practice, which is inclusive, social justice–focused, multidimensional—and sought after for the diverse initiatives she is undertaking today. She describes the university culture as a whole as "encouraging you to move beyond theory and do.” Deng's path embodies that edict: Her thesis explores assimilation dressing strategies among Immigrant women, and she advises clients of an immigration law firm on their mode of dress when interacting with government officials. She also consults on management and human capital and inclusion strategies.