10 teams named semi-finalists for NRF Foundation’s 2017 Student Challenge

"This competition showcases some of the most brilliant and talented students in the country, all of whom are passionate about the retail industry."

Ellen Davis
NRF Foundation Executive Director

The NRF Foundation today announced 10 teams as semi-finalists for the 2017 Student Challenge, a business case competition for NRF Student Association members to demonstrate their creativity and business acumen to retail executives, sponsored by KPMG. The finalists will attend the NRF Foundation GALA in New York City, where the top team will be announced January 15.

“This competition showcases some of the most brilliant and talented students in the country, all of whom are passionate about the retail industry,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Ellen Davis said. “We are impressed by the caliber of teams who have entered this year and can’t wait to see the great contributions these students will make to our industry.”

NRF has joined with STORY – a retailer that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes its selection like a gallery and sells things like a store – as its retail partner and case study for the fourth year of the competition.

Each team, composed of two to four students, was required to develop a 20-page pitch presentation, a mock website and a 90-second pitch video to convince STORY CEO and founder Rachel Shechtman to bring their story to life through one of these themes: Travel, Made in America or Sensory. Each proposal was created to provide an experience for the customer through selected merchandise, marketing approach, social media campaigns and curated events.

Executives from over 20 retail companies will participate in two rounds of judging. Judges will have access to a team’s pitch presentation, website and video and will score them against the determined criteria. In Round two, judges will take part in a teleconference with teams and ask questions about the pitch presentation. In the final round, teams will present live to a panel of retail executives in New York City.

The top three teams will receive $5,000 for each participating student. The second-place team will receive $2,500 for each student, while the third-place team will receive $1,500 for each student. The following teams have been named semi-finalists. To learn more, click here.

Columbia College Chicago, Chicago

  • Blake Fortin
  • Sammantha Hoefs
  • Andrea Knight
  • Victoria Shilby

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles

  • Alexandra Bejan
  • Sung Cho
  • Dmitri Walker

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles

  • Jillian Colin
  • Amanda Tobias
  • Chloe White
  • Kathryn Wysocki

Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.

  • Katya Anleu
  • Leah Crooks
  • Mitchell Gaylord

Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga.

  • Jeffrey Licciardello
  • Keller Campbell
  • Alexis Montano
  • Kelsey Wertz

Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.

  • Jessica Huang
  • Maggie Mendola
  • Riley O’Bryan
  • Sanjana Palepu

University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

  • Madison Lindley
  • Keilea Orr
  • Taylor Timmons

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

  • Jake Fischer
  • Anissa Lee
  • Holly Li
  • David Pang

University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

  • Sarah Muller
  • Hailey Turner

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis.

  • Breanna Blazei
  • Krystal Jacobs
  • Brian Lucksinger
  • Kendra Trost

About the NRF Foundation
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 is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the National Retail Federation and is funded in part by generous donations from retail industry supporters. NRF.com/Foundation.