The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Knitting, knives and news like never before

Nathan Forman ’15 and Joe Wlos ’15 browse their preferred news source, The Scarlet and Black. Photo by John Brady.

Ask Grinnellians what they do for work on campus, and most answers typically fall somewhere around working a campus job or working in one of the local businesses. Some students, however, have found nontraditional ways to work while being at school full-time. These students are exploring fields as diverse as knitting, media and management. In the process, they are getting involved with groups far beyond the College and even the state.

 Patterns for success

Cassie Nedoroski ’14 shows off her knitting skills. Photo by John Brady.
Cassie Nedoroski ’14 shows off her knitting skills.
Photo by John Brady.

One fateful day during the winter break of her first year, Cassie Nedoroski ’14 picked up her first pair of knitting needles and she hasn’t looked back since.

“I would stay up all night long, just knitting things,” Nedoroski recalled.

Now a blogger at, Nedoroski sells her knitwear and patterns online, on Etsy and Ravelry respectively. As her knitting has evolved from hobby into business, she’s discovered vibrant communities both online and off. She’s also carved out a strong personal philosophy.

“My favorites are definitely the things that are a little more edgy, and sexy and wearable,” Nedoroski said of her products, which include skirts and tube tops alongside hats and scarves.

Indeed, she plans to release an ebook entitled “Sexy Knits” by the end of the year, following the release of her first ebook, “Intro to Knitting.”

Knitting has been Nedoroski’s passion throughout college, but only this fall did she transition this passion into a business.

“[Selling what I make] was kind of on my mind,” she admitted. “I guess it was my own insecurities holding me back.”

But with encouragement from family and friends, she dove right in. Here at Grinnell, she’s found support from the Stitch n’ Bitch knitting club, which she currently runs alongside Abby Stevens ’14 and Clara Kirkpatrick ’14.

She has also found a home online.

“I love reading other people’s blogs … [and] finding new magazines that have the same kind of mindset as me,” she said.

Creating patterns of her own appeals to Nedoroski aesthetically and as a math major, she enjoys the chance to combine handicraft with visual problem solving.

“I’ve always liked making things by hand,” she noted.

Nedoroski’s experience selling her knitwear has led her to reflect on consumerism in general. She is driven by the movement to move away from mass-produced products in favor of handmade goods.

“I’m super passionate about that and I really want to make it my mission in life to enhance that movement,” she reflected. “The way I see it is you can either appreciate material goods or you can buy them in mass quantities.”

This philosophy is guiding Nedoroski as she moves forward. Wherever her life leads her post-graduation, she knows knitting will remain a part of it.

New Service for News 

Nathan Forman ’15 and Joe Wlos ’15 browse their preferred news source, The Scarlet and Black. Photo by John Brady.
Nathan Forman ’15 and Joe Wlos ’15 browse their preferred news source, The Scarlet and Black.
Photo by John Brady.

Joe Wlos ’15 and Nathan Forman ’15 are the creators and founders of College News Cooperative, an article sharing service for college newspapers.

During his second year at Grinnell, Wlos visited a friend at Baylor University in Texas and noticed that the school newspaper was filled with articles written by the Associated Press. Wlos and Forman began to look into how much it cost schools to print work from established news agencies.

“We felt that we could create something that empowers student journalists and would be cheaper than what some of our more professional competitors are doing,” Forman said.

Wlos and Forman created a service that syndicates the work of student journalists. The online service has provided student journalists with a wider audience and more potential publishers than they otherwise would have access to if they were to work solely for their college newspapers.

Most of the work done by Wlos and Forman so far has been building the website to function in a way that suits the needs of college newspapers. Wlos’ role is primarily to develop the website, while Forman oversees the marketing of the service.

Recently, Wlos and Forman have brought Brian Silberberg ’14 on board to help refine their sales strategy. The company was formed back in September, and the website is currently up and running for beta testing.

Wlos emphasized that College News Cooperative is not a side project. Rather, they view it as something that will be part of their lives for a long time.

“We would like to take any opportunity we can to grow this idea into a company or business that can have an impact on the lives of college journalists and can be sustainable in the future,” Wlso said.

Even though it is something that the group does in addition to school commitments, College News Cooperative has been a primary focus for them.

“I was considering applying for something on SGA next year, but I’m much more dedicated to this because it’s an exciting opportunity for us to help other journalists and also to make a really neat product,” Forman said.

Forman and Wlos have realized that technology today allows the start up and growth of small businesses far more feasible than it was just a few years ago.

“You no longer need an investment firm to create a burgeoning business,” Forman said.

Wlos believes the skills he and his partners are learning through creating and managing College News Cooperate cannot be replicated in school.

“Starting a business in the real world is some experience that I think everyone should have before they graduate,” Wlos said. “It’s an opportunity I am really thankful for.”

 Making the Cut


Lukas Eng ’15 spent a summer working for Vector Marketing, the domestic sales branch of Cutco Cutlery. Cutco Cutlery is a direct sales company, with in-house demonstrations for America’s number one brand for kitchen knives.

It was soccer alumni Ben Schemper ’11.5 who helped Eng, a Buffalo, NY native, land a job typically outside the reach of an undergraduate, full-time student.

“The winter of my freshman year, he got me an interview at the Buffalo office,” Eng said. “I went there, got the interview, got the job and did very well off the bat.”

Not only did Eng have a successful start to his job, but he was soon promoted to a manager position. Eng became a manager through a highly intensive training program under the NYC Leadership Academy. Taking his sales business to Oneida, NY, Eng set up his own office, where he interviewed around 300 people to work for him.

“[I] had an office of two receptionists and about 10 to 15 representatives working under me,” Eng described.

Even though his experience working as a manager went fairly smoothly, Eng found it was not always easy being the manager of people his own age and, occasionally, people older than him.

Currently, Eng works as a part-time sales associate for the group and hopes this will give him more time to focus on school and other commitments. He hopes that in the future, his role in a company will relate more to sales and customer service.

“Cold calling customers does get annoying. I want to move away from more pushy sales to more non-profit organizations,” Eng said.

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