Next Generation Class of 2016

Ambitious students from NRF member schools competed to represent the next generation of retail leaders. The students below received travel scholarships to attend the Student Program at Retail's BIG Show and the NRF Foundation Gala in New York City.

**$125,000 in scholarships

The NRF Foundation announces finalists for the 2016 Next Generation Scholarship. The program will award $125,000 in scholarships to 38 students. Read the press release.


Retail executives from 15 companies selected 25 semi-finalists before narrowing the field to the five finalists. The top recipient was announced at the NRF Foundation Gala and received a $25,000 scholarship and four finalists each received $10,000 scholarships. Meet the Next Generation Class of 2016.

Top recipient

A headshot of Emma Jumper, the Next Generation 2016 top recipient

Emma Jumper
Mississippi State University Corporate Finance

Growing up in a family that raised beef and grew produce, Emma Jumper was inspired to become a global provider of the same “gate to plate” and “pasture to pantry” products she enjoyed as a child. With a passion for agricultural retailing and an unwavering dedication to understanding all facets of retail economics and finance, Emma also wants her customers to “see our products in the grocery store and associate the quality with the hard working families who harvested it.” 


A headshot of Ashley Biscan, a Next Generation 2016 finalist

Ashley Biscan
University of Georgia Magazine Journalism

Ashley Biscan is “a memorable standout thanks to her tenacious spirit and willingness to go above and beyond what is asked,” according to the editor-in-chief of Jezebel, where Ashley interned during the summer of 2015. Ashley’s passion for retail comes from her love of storytelling and she believes “retailers and media are like a pair of high heels. You can’t have one without the other, and with that in mind, I’ll continue to pursue outlets that combine my interests in fashion retail and journalism.”

A headshot of Grace Dusek, a Next generation 2016 finalist

Grace Dusek
Texas A&M University  Marketing with Retailing Certificate

During her summer internship with Global Brand Groups in New York City, Grace Dusek realized that her “career aspiration had expanded beyond working in fashion to working for a company "where I can marry data with creativity to successfully market a brand’s story and optimize its interpretation for retailers.” According to the vice president of sales for the Rosetti Handbag division of Global Brands Group, “Grace is the type of young employee we would hire in a heartbeat — energetic, willing to learn, positive, mature and full of ambition and personality.”

A heaedshot of Macaira O'Connell, a Next Generation 2016 finalist

Macaira O'Connell
Indiana University Apparel Merchandising

Macaira O’Connell sees “retail as an opportunity to solve problems both locally and globally.” Having dedicated hundreds of hours volunteering for Global Gifts and traveling to Ecuador with a Global Gifts vendor, Macaira became president of the Fair Trade University Campaign at Indiana University. Following a successful internship in marketing and merchandising for a fair trade wholesaler Macaira has cemented her beliefs around “the beautiful benefits of paying workers enough money to support themselves, their children and their community.”

A headshot of Rachel Weinstein, a Next Generation 2016 finalist

Rachel Weinstein
The University of Arizona
Retailing & Consumer Science

Rachel Weinstein was captivated by retail when she started a sales associate job at 16 years old. She quickly understood the importance of technology in the growth of the retail industry and declared a minor in eSociety. Her “knowledge of technology, brick and mortar stores and consumer behavior will ensure that her future team blends the in-store and online experience with current technology to provide an interactive experience that is seamless for all generations.” She is excited to join Nike after graduation as an associate merchant.