The NRF Foundation has announced the five undergraduate finalists of its Next Generation Scholarship presented by SAS — the organization’s premier scholarship competition. First created in 2014, the scholarship is for students of various and diverse academic backgrounds who have demonstrated leadership skills, previous retail experience and a passion for making an impact in the retail industry.
The 2024 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship finalists are:
- Kev Addison (Indiana University)
- Cali Burns (University of Missouri)
- Fatmata Camara (LIM College)
- Rosinella D’Ostilio (University of Florida)
- Michelle Lee (University of Notre Dame)
“This is something new for the University of Missouri — I'm the first person to go through this process with the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship,” Cali Burns says. “It's been really exciting and an amazing experience.”
The top recipient will receive a $25,000 tuition scholarship; the other four finalists will each receive a $10,000 tuition scholarship. The top recipient will be announced on stage at the NRF Foundation Honors on Jan. 14 in New York City.
“I think one of the most important things the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarships does is build confidence,” says LIM College’s Fatmata Camara. “This scholarship gives you the confidence to walk into a room and say, ‘I can tackle these big problems.’”
The competition included a summer case study created in collaboration with Macy’s, Inc. and two interviews with assigned retailers.
“This experience has really helped me reflect on the way that I approach business writing and interviews and how to best portray my strengths and best qualities,” says the University of Notre Dame’s Michelle Lee. “This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my network and meet other individuals also passionate about retail.”
The finalists were chosen from 10 semifinalists who participated in video interviews with NRF staff. The final round of the competition will include interviews with the NRF Foundation Board of Directors to determine the top recipient.
“Retail is a place where all of us connect,” says Indiana University’s Kev Addison. “It's a place where all of us get a chance to come together. Retail is the one place in the world where people draw up emotional human connection in a genuine form, and there's nothing else like retail.”
Since 2014, more than $900,000 in funds have been awarded through the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship.
“I applied because I've always been a firm believer of giving back,” says the University of Florida’s Rosinella D’Ostilio. “I've gotten a lot of help and mentorship, so to me, applying to the scholarship not only meant opening a lot of doors for myself, but it also means an opportunity to mentor other students who are interested in a career in retail.”
“The NRF Foundation is honored to recognize the top five finalists of the Next Generation Scholarship,” says NRF Foundation Executive Director Adam Lukoskie. “These young individuals have shown true passion, tenacity and creative vision throughout the competition, and we are eager to celebrate their success in January at the NRF Foundation Honors.”
The NRF Foundation connects people to an industry that’s a great place to start and a great place to grow. Since 2015, the NRF Foundation Honors has raised the funds to continue to provide programs and resources to help people build better lives and stronger communities. Join us in New York City and be a part of the story of how retail builds extraordinary careers. And visit our Scholarships page for more information about NRF Foundation scholarships.