Ambitious students from more than 45 NRF member schools competed to represent the next generation of retail leaders. The students below received travel stipends to attend the Student Program at Retail’s Big Show and the NRF Foundation Gala in New York City.
Retail executives from 20 companies selected 25 semi-finalists who competed in a second round of judging for a chance to be selected as a finalist. The top recipient was announced at the NRF Foundation Gala and received a $25,000 scholarship; four finalists each received $10,000 scholarships.
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University of Arizona
Since Courtney Nash was 14, she has set her sights on a career in retail. Having managed two boutiques, Nash has already learned invaluable leadership and communication skills. After graduation, she wants to travel the world to better understand the industry from a global standpoint. “I hope to settle in New York or San Francisco and will then embark on my next phase in the corporate retail world, surrounded by inspiring industry leaders.” Nash ultimately wants to use her retail experience to inspire and educate others, training within a corporate setting or teaching at a university.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Brian Lucksinger wasn’t exposed to much diversity growing up in rural Wisconsin, so attending MAGIC Fashion Week in Las Vegas ... well, it rocked his world. After understanding the power of retail to change his own life, Lucksinger began studying self-image congruency and representation marketing and is currently earning his Bachelor of Business Administration. He has worked retail on the sales floor and in the warehouse, but he dreams of becoming an entrepreneur with a brand that stands for representation while allowing people to express their own identities within the product.
Santa Clara University
Marlowe Camblin has come to love retail for its celebration of all things new and current. “I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the emergence of digital marketing and rapid penetration of e-tail,” she says. “Being a young adult during this time is very exciting to me.” Camblin’s experience working in retail has taught her an important lesson: Always put customers first. In five years, she sees herself working for a progressive, disruptive retailer, developing marketing strategies and selecting merchandise.
Kent State University
First inspired to work in fashion by the 2004 movie “13 Going on 30,” Brittany Rhoa fueled that initial spark and today feels certain about setting off on a career path in retail. “I thrive in an environment that is constantly changing and challenging me.” Rhoa has lined up a product development coordinator position at Kohl’s and hopes to be a product manager in five years. Ultimately, she wants to become a vice president, and she looks forward to developing products and using her analytical and creative skills.
University of Georgia
As a Management Information Systems major, Kelly Skoglund has often found herself explaining to peers how her major fits with her minor in Fashion Merchandising. “I’ve been inspired to pursue a career in retail by integrating process and technical areas of study with the fast-paced and challenging environment that is retail.” During her career, Skolund hopes to see more women in leadership positions and imagines herself as a retail leader. She loves the industry because it’s ever-changing, influential and expressive. And she already understands an important lesson: “One has the ability to be a leader, no matter their position or pay grade.”