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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.

Ray Greenly scholarship Class of 2014

3 reasons to apply for a Ray Greenly Scholarship

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How to apply

The 2017 Ray Greenly application period is now closed. Please email scholarships@nrf.com for more information.

In their own words: Ray Greenly scholars gain new perspectives on digital retail

The Ray Greenly Scholarship offers a unique opportunity for students from any major to explore digital retail. It doesn’t matter what you’re studying — if you’re an eligible full-time student with creative, entrepreneurial spirit, you can apply for a travel stipend and the chance at $25,000.

Don’t miss out on SHOP.ORG 2017  in Los Angeles— learn more about how to apply and submit your application by April 03, 2017. Still wondering if you should apply? Don’t take our word for it: Here’s what some of last year’s recipients have to say.

Who’s your dream mentor?

Mindy Grossman: “I could learn a lot from her powerful story as an innovator and game changer in the retail industry.” – Sarah Kendzior

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson: “It is incredible to hear someone who is able to scale up a startup the way that she has. I am also deeply impressed by how she has been able to innovate and lead a startup in two separate categories.” – Anjali Bhatia

Tony Hsieh: “His personal ideology really resonates with me. He runs his company with a very clear vision and a focus on the asset that matters the most — people. Hsieh is driven by the desire to improve the world, and he is working toward that goal in experimental and innovative ways.” – Nelly Mensah

Barbara Corcoran: “She is a role model for young women who are starting their career with an education and a dream.” – Emilie Wurmser

Richard Last: He’s “not only successful in [his professional life] but also a successful person in his personal life.” – Khuyen Nguyen

Shawn Carter (Jay Z): “His success as an artist and businessman would [provide] great insight.” – Evan Chisholm

Rick Owens: “No one else has a better understanding of his customer and the concept of an immersive, lifestyle brand.” – Alexandre Marr

Discovering digital retail

The scholarship application process — and attending the Shop.org Digital Summit — helps you see beyond your coursework and experience as a consumer to see the business side of digital retail.

“I wrongly assumed that digital retail only offered a limited amount of full-time career opportunities,” says University of Minnesota’s Sarah Kendzior. “This scholarship opened up my eyes to new career paths within the retail industry. I learned from many professionals and CEOs that the opportunities within digital retail are constantly changing and growing!”

“I knew very little about digital retail before I attended the Shop.org Summit and I honestly thought that it just entailed companies that sell clothes, electronics and other consumer goods online,” says Georgia Tech’s Emilie Wurmser. The Summit offered an introduction to the depth and breadth of the industry. University of Illinois student Elizabeth Engele had a similar experience: “I learned that ALL retail encompasses digital retail,” she says.

The scholarship offers a thorough introduction to the industry, but those already pursuing retail careers can also benefit. “After receiving the scholarship and attending the Summit, I decided to focus on the digital side of retail instead of my original plan to become a buyer,” says University of North Texas student Khuyen Nguyen. “I would love to work in creative e-commerce strategy or web analytics.”

“I had always wanted to nerd out about digital retail with like-minded folks and I thought this was an incredible opportunity to do it — scholarship or not,” says Nelly Mensah, an MIT student who was runner-up in 2014. “Having the recognition of the scholarship was just the cherry on top.”

Exploring entrepreneurial ideas

No matter where these Ray Greenly scholars land after graduation, they’ll be bringing innovative ideas to market. FIT’s Evan Chisholm, the top recipient in 2014, initially applied for the scholarship to explore his entrepreneurial passions. “After bugging [my professor Laticha Brown] about a business idea I had, she passed along the information and encouraged me to apply,” he says. “The scholarship has given me the confidence to continue pursuing my business ideas and confirmed my passion. Whether intrapreneurial or entrepreneurial, I am focused on creating a unique omnichannel experience for my target audience.”

“Receiving the scholarship was both validating and motivating that I can be an entrepreneur,” says University of Pennsylvania’s Anjali Bhatia. “I am going to be working on my startups full-time after I graduate from Wharton with my MBA.”

Interacting with top executives

Students who attended the 2014 program say the chance to connect with digital retail executives was unparalleled. “If you are selected, you will have the opportunity to ask extremely knowledgeable individuals … basically anything you'd like,” says Kent State’s Alexandre Marr.

Chisholm says final round judges Kevin Ertell, Miki Berardelli and Ryan Ross “were so open and thoughtful in their questions and feedback during the interview process. They all really made me feel like I could ascend to their level one day!”

“My favorite moment was taking the selfie on stage with Kevin Ertell,” says Bhatia. “It showed me that digital retail executives can have a ton of fun doing their job.”