"All of our semi-finalists exhibit remarkable leadership skills and will no doubt make their mark on the retail industry."Ellen Davis
NRF Foundation Executive Director
WASHINGTON – The NRF Foundation today announced 25 students as semi-finalists for its Next Generation Scholarship program, which provides financial support to college students pursuing careers or majors relevant to retail. In a new phase of the competition this year, semi-finalists will be required to complete a written project and interview with an assigned retailer.
“True to its name, this scholarship identifies and rewards the retail industry’s brightest rising stars,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Ellen Davis said. “We adjusted the application process this year to attract a wider pool of qualified students, and ended up with a truly talented group from schools across the country. All of our semi-finalists exhibit remarkable leadership skills and will no doubt make their mark on the retail industry.”
In the first phase of the competition, 99 applicants from 42 schools submitted an essay, a personal brand video, two letters of recommendation, a resume and school transcripts. A panel of retail executives judged those materials to select the semi-finalists, and a second panel of retail experts will use the new written projects and interviews to select five finalists. Of the finalists, four will each receive a $10,000 scholarship and one will receive a $25,000 scholarship.
The semi-finalists are:
- Natalie Alonzo, Pennsylvania State University
- Shane Baglione, University of Florida
- Marlowe Camblin, Santa Clara University
- Jessa Chargois, Cornell University
- Lea Chen, University of Pennsylvania
- Rachelle Duperoux, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
- Tyshaia Earnest, Kent State University
- Madeline Harpham, University of Georgia
- Isabel Jimenez, Savannah College of Art and Design
- Paige Lindsey, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
- Amaya Linsey, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- Brian Lucksinger, University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Katarina Mejean, University of Delaware
- Courtney Nash, University of Arizona
- Ariel Norris, Butler University
- Carlo Pardo, Savannah College of Art and Design
- Sadie Lee Pierce, Mississippi State University
- Brittany Rhoa, Kent State University
- Kelly Skoglund, University of Georgia
- Emylee Smith, Ohio University
- Mollina So, Kent State University
- Kathryn Steib, University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Nick Trifelos, Butler University
- Reanne Wang, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
- Hannah Witteried, Butler University
The top recipient will be announced on stage in front of hundreds of retail CEOs and insiders at the NRF Foundation Gala, January 14, during NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show. In addition to providing scholarships to the top five students, the Foundation pays travel expenses for all semi-finalists to attend the Foundation’s January 12-14 Student Program, held during NRF 2018.
Along with the scholarship semi-finalists and finalists, more than 700 students are expected to attend the Student Program, where they have the chance to meet executives from some of the industry's most popular brands such as Disney, The Home Depot, Macy’s, West Elm and Nike. Students will hear from retail recruiters offering opportunities for internships, training programs and entry-level career positions, and will learn to leverage their networks to advance their careers through an executive mentoring session.
To learn more about the scholarship, visit NRF.com/NextGeneration.
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.