“Through their essays and interviews with retailers, this year’s finalists showcased how their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit will set the standard for the next generation of retail talent.”Ellen Davis
NRF Foundation Executive Director
WASHINGTON – The NRF Foundation today announced this year’s finalists for its Next Generation Scholarship and its annual Student Challenge. The top recipients of both scholarship programs will be announced on stage in front of hundreds of retail CEOs and insiders at the NRF Foundation Gala on January 14 during NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show.
Next Generation Scholarship
“We have added new elements to this year’s Next Generation competition to further challenge applicants, and each of our finalists rose to the occasion,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Ellen Davis said. “Through their essays and interviews with retailers, this year’s finalists showcased how their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit will set the standard for the next generation of retail talent.”
The Next Generation Scholarship provides financial support to college students pursuing careers or majors relevant to retail. Of the five finalists, four will receive $10,000 scholarships and one a $25,000 scholarship. The top finalists will interview with retail executives in person this January, after which the top recipient will be chosen. This year’s finalists are:
- Marlowe Camblin, Santa Clara University – Bachelor of Science in marketing; Minor in retail studies
- Brian Lucksinger, University of Wisconsin-Madison - Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and management
- Courtney Nash, University of Arizona – Bachelor of Science in retailing and consumer sciences
- Brittany Rhoa, Kent State University - Bachelor of Science in fashion merchandising
- Kelly Skoglund, University of Georgia – Bachelor of Business Administration in management information systems; Minor in fashion merchandising
“The Student Challenge competition not only showcases students’ individual talents but their ability to collaborate and work through problems as a team — a critically important combination in the business world today,” Davis said. “We are continuously inspired by the passion and creativity that student teams bring to this competition, and look forward to revealing the top team next month.”
For this year’s Student Challenge, the NRF Foundation worked with New York retailer STORY on a case competition that enabled students to demonstrate their creativity and business acumen to retail leaders. After narrowing down dozens of team proposals to three, the final teams will present their concepts live to a panel of retail executives this January in New York City.
The top team will receive $5,000 for each participating student. The second-place team will receive $2,500 for each student, and the third-place team will receive $1,500 for each student. The 2018 finalist teams are:
- Columbia College Chicago: Allison Coppedge, Sara Diaz de Villegas, Nathan Procell and Lane Hedler
- Columbia College Chicago: Ashley Cairns, Blake Fortin and Kendall McDermott
- University of Pennsylvania: Kelsey Serraneau, Walter Little and Anita Mo
More than 800 undergraduate students from around the country are expected to attend the 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 mentoring session.
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.