NRF Foundation Announces Finalists for Next Generation Scholarship

WASHINGTON – The NRF Foundation today announced the top five undergraduate finalists of the Next Generation Scholarship, the organization’s premier scholarship competition. First created in 2014, the scholarship is for students of various academic backgrounds who have demonstrated leadership skills, previous retail experience and a passion for making an impact.

"These NRF Foundation Next Generation scholars have demonstrated impressive knowledge, inspiring creativity and incredible passion for retail throughout the competition.”

NRF Foundation Executive Director Bill Thorne

"These NRF Foundation Next Generation scholars have demonstrated impressive knowledge, inspiring creativity and incredible passion for retail throughout the competition,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Bill Thorne said. “We congratulate the finalists on this extraordinary achievement, and we look forward to announcing the top recipient in January.”

The top recipient will receive a $25,000 tuition scholarship presented by SAS and will be recognized on stage at the NRF Foundation Honors in New York City. The four other finalists will each receive a $10,000 tuition scholarship.

The 2022 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship finalists are:

  • Robert Davison Long (Columbia College Chicago)
  • Sabrina Leibowitz (Drexel University)
  • Sarah May (Indiana University)
  • Marcel Smith (LIM College)
  • Brooke Williams (Ohio State University)

The finalists were chosen from 10 semifinalists based on interviews with staff from the National Retail Federation. The final round of the competition will include interviews with the NRF Foundation Board of Directors to determine the top recipient.

An earlier part of the competition required the students to spend the summer completing a rigorous case study, researching and building comprehensive plans detailing go-to-market strategies for a new Meijer Brand Foods program.

Since 2014, more than $900,000 in funds have been awarded through the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship.

In addition to the Next Generation Scholarship, the NRF Foundation also offers students the chance to receive valuable real-world experience with the NRF Foundation Student Challenge. The NRF Foundation is bringing the top three student teams that are competing to NYC to make their pitch to retail executives. The top team will be announced on stage at the 2022 Foundation Honors on April 13. The event will be co-hosted by Macy’s, Inc. Chairman and CEO and NRF Foundation Board Chairman Jeff Gennette and National Retail Federation Board Chairman and former President and CEO, Qurate Retail, Inc. Mike George.

Visit for more information about NRF Foundation scholarships. Media interested in covering the honorees or the event should contact NRF’s media team at

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

About NRF Foundation
The NRF Foundation provides the skills and resources needed for a life-changing career. As NRF's nonprofit 501(c)(3), we connect people to an industry that’s a great place to start and a great place to grow. Together, we help people build better lives and stronger communities.