By  on March 21, 2006

NEW YORK — Megan Stein is getting ready to pack for Paris.

The graduate student in Drexel University's design department will head to the City of Light come fall on a one-year scholarship to study at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, where she will learn couture design techniques.

The scholarship was part of the grand prize Stein won at the 23rd annual Concours des Jeunes Createurs de Mode, a fashion design competition in Paris last December. She was the first American to win the prize. Stein competed against 170 students from 17 countries, and her post-modern paratrooper girl-inspired design impressed the panel of judges, led by Pierre Cardin.

As the winning designer, Stein also took home $3,500, a Pfaff embroidery and sewing machine and a round-trip ticket on Air France.

Stein, who will graduate in May, said she plans to leave for Paris at the end of the summer.

"This is really amazing. I broke the glass ceiling," Stein said during a short break from designing her year-end collection, which she will present on May 31. "I love the techniques in couture design and I am most excited to learn more advanced pattern-making skills."

Stein said she is interested in becoming a high-end women's sportswear designer after she completes her year in Paris.

Emil De John, director of fashion career development at Drexel, said the prize was well deserved.

"Every time Megan submits something, she wins the contest," he said. "She is the type of student who works eight days a week. She's the dream student, and there is no doubt in my mind that she will do very well."

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