NRF Foundation announces finalists for 2017 Next Generation Scholarship

"Each year we are impressed by the caliber of students that apply for this scholarship and their level of creativity and passion towards retail."

Ellen Davis
NRF Foundation Executive Director

The National Retail Federation Foundation today announced this year’s top five finalists for its Next Generation Scholarship program, which provides financial support to college students pursuing careers or majors relevant to retail. The finalists will travel to New York City, where they will interview with a panel of retail executives who will award four $10,000 scholarships and one $25,000 scholarship.

The top recipient will be announced on stage in front of hundreds of retail CEOs and insiders at the NRF Foundation Gala on January 15 during Retail’s BIG Show.

“Each year we are impressed by the caliber of students that apply for this scholarship and their level of creativity and passion towards retail,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Ellen Davis said. “Through their essays, this year’s finalists demonstrated excitement, innovation, leadership, and passion that is very crucial in shaping the future of the retail industry.”

The finalists are:

  • Jill Davis, University of Georgia
  • Makaela Hill, Indiana University
  • Margaret Kwon, The New School – Parsons School of Design
  • Danielle Mennella, LIM College
  • Kaley Suero, University of Pennsylvania

In addition to the top finalist awards, the NRF Foundation provides all 20 semi-finalists with travel scholarships to attend the NRF Student Program at Retail’s BIG Show and the NRF Foundation Gala.

The semi-finalists are:

  • Elizabeth Dumont, Auburn University
  • Savannah Kleiner, Butler University
  • Victoria Shibly, Columbia College Chicago
  • Hannah Patrick, Drexel University
  • Matthew Talbot, East Carolina University
  • Sarah Botscheller, Kent State University
  • Megan Miller, Lasell College
  • Gabrielle Martinez, Mississippi State University
  • Ariana Frankel, Santa Clara University
  • Crystal Paris, Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta
  • Alyssa McKinzie, Texas A&M University
  • Traum-Anh Nguyen, Texas State University-San Marcos
  • Christian Sopoco, Texas Woman’s University
  • Laura Martinez, University of Alabama
  • Brenna McKeown, University of Florida
  • Samantha Pineda, University of Georgia
  • Brenna Schlauderaff, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Lisa Liu, University of Pennsylvania
  • Leah Jenkins, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Rita Roloff, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Over 500 students are expected to attend the January 13-15 Student Program, which exposes students to 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 mentor 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.