We're undergoing maintenance. Some site features are not accessible.

10 go-to-market strategies move forward in NRF Foundation scholarship competition

By Lottie Watts
Published Sep 7, 2021

How would you bring a new foods program to market?

For the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship presented by SAS, 25 semifinalists spent the summer researching and building comprehensive plans detailing a proposed grocery product and how they would engage new and existing customers to drive sales.

A panel of retail judges evaluated the go-to-market strategies for a new Meijer Brand Foods program – with proposals for healthier meal favorites, pantry staples, beverages and more – and 10 undergraduates are now one step closer to thousands of dollars in scholarship funds from the NRF Foundation.

“As a leader in the industry, Meijer is passionate about helping students launch exciting and sustainable careers in retail,” says Lana DenHarder, who manages college relations for the family-owned regional retailer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “The NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship case study has encouraged students to explore and share their passion for the industry. We were very impressed with the creative ideas and proposals put forth by the students, and hope that these future leaders have gained valuable insights that will help fuel their careers in the industry."

The 10 undergrads who will continue to compete for the top award are:

  • Mia Cordio (LIM College)
  • Peyton Darrow (Santa Clara University)
  • Robert Davison Long (Columbia College Chicago)
  • Lauren Gerstner (LIM College)
  • Sabrina Leibowitz (Drexel University)
  • Megan Marr (LIM College)
  • Sarah May (Indiana University)
  • Erika Parker (LIM College)
  • Marcel Smith (LIM College)
  • Brooke Williams (Ohio State University)

"Amid the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, our Next Generation scholars are showing remarkable dedication as they make the most out of this incredible chance to get real-world experience and prepare for great careers in the industry,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Bill Thorne says. “We look forward to learning more about them as they compete for our most prestigious student award.”

The competition will narrow to five finalists based on interviews with the National Retail Federation, and those students will then have final round interviews with the NRF Foundation Board of Directors. The top recipient will receive $25,000 and four other finalists will get $10,000 each. The announcement will be made Jan. 16 at the NRF Foundation Honors in New York City.

Since its launch, 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 a chance to get experience with the NRF Foundation Student Challenge, a team business competition that is open now to current sophomores, juniors and seniors. Submissions are due Oct. 10 and the NRF Foundation will bring the top three teams in that competition to NYC to make their pitch to retail executives.  

The NRF Foundation is here with everything you need to accelerate your career – both in person and online. Throughout the fall, join us for free online events to prepare you for your retail career and help you maximize your experience at the NRF Foundation Student Program, which is returning to New York City Jan. 13 – 16.

Related Content

Undergrads to complete Meijer case study for top scholarship
May 13, 2021
Read more
Columbia College Chicago senior named 2021 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholar
February 9, 2021
Read more
NRF Foundation scholarship helps undergrad erase debt
February 24, 2020
Read more