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Posted Saturday, April 25th, 2020

Providing Much-Needed PPE to Morris County Community

CCM student Nieasia Wilkins of Budd Lake makes face masks

CCM student Nieasia Wilkins of Budd Lake makes face masks

Fashion design students and their professors, plus several employees at County College of Morris, are making face masks to protect those working on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project began after faculty learned that some students had started making masks during the college’s spring break in March and as hospitals and other organizations started asking for personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Helping people in this way is making an impact,” said CCM student Emil Desena of Randolph. “Even just on a small, local level, it’s still important, and I’m glad that I’m able to use my passion for sewing and creating in a way that helps others.”

As the design faculty migrated to online classes, they lost the ability to deliver coursework using traditional hands-on teaching methods, said Professor Kelly Whalen, who oversees the design programs at CCM.

Instead, faculty and students shared research and information online about acceptable mask designs. A few videos, recommended by healthcare organizations and others, were selected, providing clear instruction on how to construct the masks. Faculty then chose to adopt the project in their Introduction to Sewing, Design Concepts I & II and Fashion Construction II classes.

CCM Professor Anita Collins works at mask making

CCM Professor Anita Collins works at mask making

Whalen is serving as coordinator of the face mask project, while CCM professors Anita Collins and Wendy Carmona are working closely with the students and making masks themselves. Several CCM staff members also have become involved in the project, making it a college-wide effort.

CCM Masks Being Sent to Health Facilities Throughout the Community

To date, students and professors have made nearly 200 masks, including several child-sized masks that will be donated to a pediatric healthcare facility in the next few days.

Masks have been delivered to a hematology and oncology facility affiliated with Morristown Medical Center, as well as to Compassionate Care healthcare workers in Sparta. Others that have received, or will be receiving masks soon, are Saint Clare’s Health’s hospitals in Denville and Dover, Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Hospital, and workers at UPS.

“It’s real-world problem solving, as we had to organize distributing fabric, sourcing elastic, identifying places in need and then getting the masks to where they are needed, while adhering to the social distancing and disinfectant protocols,” said Whalen.

Other students making face masks are Jenna Lentz of Fairfield, Taylor Moss of West Orange, Louis Smith of Basking Ridge, Devyn Orozco of Lake Hiawatha, and Nieasia Wilkins of Budd Lake. CCM employees helping with the project include Rosemary Grant, Brian Kafel, Jeri LaBruna, and Adjunct Professor Gregory Somjen.

“I feel very happy and humbled to know that something I love doing can help others stay safe,” says , another student making masks. “I believe that every little bit counts, and together we can help stop the spread of the virus.”

Learn more about CCM fashion design at