“As we celebrated the university’s 150th anniversary and the legacy of my family,” Istook remarks. “I hope to help have a hand in students’ career preparation and cultivate their interest to learn, serve and make the world a better place.”
Istook’s passion for design began when her mother introduced her to sewing.
“Many of the sewing patterns didn’t quite align with my ideas, so trying to match my vision with the fabric is pretty much the product development process,” explains Istook. “I just did that for so many years and wanted to learn more about it.”
She received a bachelor’s in fashion merchandising from TCU, then worked in retail for several years while creating custom clothing and home furnishings for clients. Istook later pursued a master’s and doctorate degree for the sole purpose of teaching at her alma mater, however, no teaching positions were available at the time.
“I went on to become a faculty member at North Carolina State University, and that was a really good thing,” said Istook. “Sometimes, the best things are unanswered prayers.”
Istook’s teaching style is rooted in critical inquiry and equipping students with the practical skills to apply their knowledge effectively.
“The ability to memorize information for a test is really not important; what truly matters is learning how to apply it.”
Istook discovered the importance of becoming a lifelong learner during a textile course in graduate school. She studied various textile finishes, and initially, she couldn’t see the practical application. However, it all clicked when she began working with digital printing on textile substrates, realizing the importance of understanding the chemistry and its interaction with fibers.
“I took many classes where I thought, ‘I’ll never use this knowledge again,’ and that textiles course was one of them. It became an ‘aha’ moment and explained why my screen printing class at TCU didn’t go well – I didn’t use the appropriate paints for the fabric,” chuckled Istook.
“I’m really excited to come full circle and return to TCU to contribute to the legacy that my family founded.”