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The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

Next Generation - Class of 2016

Next Generation Class of 2016

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$125,000 in scholarships

The NRF Foundation announces finalists for the 2016 Next Generation Scholarship. The program will award $125,000 in scholarships to 38 students. Read the press release.

Ambitious students from NRF member schools competed to represent the next generation of retail leaders. The students below received travel scholarships to attend the Student Program at Retail's BIG Show and the NRF Foundation Gala in New York City.

Retail executives from 15 companies selected 25 semi-finalists before narrowing the field to the five finalists. The top recipient was announced at the NRF Foundation Gala and received a $25,000 scholarship and four finalists each received $10,000 scholarships. Meet the Next Generation Class of 2016.

2016 Top Recipient

Emma Jumper
Mississippi State University Corporate Finance

Growing up in a family that raised beef and grew produce, Emma Jumper was inspired to become a global provider of the same “gate to plate” and “pasture to pantry” products she enjoyed as a child. With a passion for agricultural retailing and an unwavering dedication to understanding all facets of retail economics and finance, Emma also wants her customers to “see our products in the grocery store and associate the quality with the hard working families who harvested it.” 

2016 Finalists

Ashley Biscan
University of Georgia Magazine Journalism

Ashley Biscan is “a memorable standout thanks to her tenacious spirit and willingness to go above and beyond what is asked,” according to the editor-in-chief of Jezebel, where Ashley interned during the summer of 2015. Ashley’s passion for retail comes from her love of storytelling and she believes “retailers and media are like a pair of high heels. You can’t have one without the other, and with that in mind, I’ll continue to pursue outlets that combine my interests in fashion retail and journalism.”



Grace Dusek
Texas A&M University  Marketing with Retailing Certificate

During her summer internship with Global Brand Groups in New York City, Grace Dusek realized that her “career aspiration had expanded beyond working in fashion to working for a company "where I can marry data with creativity to successfully market a brand’s story and optimize its interpretation for retailers.” According to the vice president of sales for the Rosetti Handbag division of Global Brands Group, “Grace is the type of young employee we would hire in a heartbeat — energetic, willing to learn, positive, mature and full of ambition and personality.”

Macaira O'Connell
Indiana University Apparel Merchandising

Macaira O’Connell sees “retail as an opportunity to solve problems both locally and globally.” Having dedicated hundreds of hours volunteering for Global Gifts and traveling to Ecuador with a Global Gifts vendor, Macaira became president of the Fair Trade University Campaign at Indiana University. Following a successful internship in marketing and merchandising for a fair trade wholesaler Macaira has cemented her beliefs around “the beautiful benefits of paying workers enough money to support themselves, their children and their community.”


Rachel Weinstein
The University of Arizona
Retailing & Consumer Science

Rachel Weinstein was captivated by retail when she started a sales associate job at 16 years old. She quickly understood the importance of technology in the growth of the retail industry and declared a minor in eSociety. Her “knowledge of technology, brick and mortar stores and consumer behavior will ensure that her future team blends the in-store and online experience with current technology to provide an interactive experience that is seamless for all generations.” She is excited to join Nike after graduation as an associate merchant. 

2016 Semi-finalists

Chanelle Bertelsen

Chanelle Bertelsen
Savannah College of Art & Design - Savannah
Fashion Marketing

Caroline Calle
University of Pennsylvania


Megan Dawson-Elli
University of Delaware
Fashion Merchandising


Betty Dominguez
University of Houston
Retailing & Consumer Science


Megan Donovan
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Retailing & Consumer Behavior


Eleonora Halon
LIM College
Fashion Merchandising





Megan Hornberger
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Business Management


Zainah Irizarry
Fashion Institute of Technology
Fashion Business Management

Lindsay Kline
Indiana University
Supply Chain Management



Ashley Lamb
Florida State University
Retail, Merchandising, & Product Development

Makala Mulder
Savannah College of Art & Design - Atlanta
Fashion Marketing & Management

Delaney Murphy
University of North Texas
Merchandising & Digital Retail

Camille Nzengung
University of Georgia
Fashion Merchandising

Jessica Papier
University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Consumer Apparel & Retail Studies

Amanda Phillips
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Retail Merchandising

Cherokee Polk
Texas Woman's University
Fashion Merchandising & Marketing

Veronica Ribeiro
Santa Clara University
Communication & Art History

Cody Risinger
Kent State University
Fashion Merchandising

Amanda Tobias
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Merchandise Marketing

Tess Williamson
Texas A&M University

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