NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship

NRF Foundation Honors 2023

Next Generation Scholarship

The retail leaders of tomorrow.

The highest honor that the NRF Foundation can bestow upon a student features a top award of $25,000 and recognition as an emerging leader in retail. The top recipient in the 2023 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship will be announced at the NRF Foundation Honors in January 2023.

NRF Foundation awards top scholarship to Columbia College Chicago junior

The 2022 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship – the highest honor the NRF Foundation awards to undergraduate students – was presented by SAS at the NRF Foundation Honors on April 13 in New York City.

Meet the finalists in the 2022 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship

Prior to the announcement of the top recipient, a video featuring all five finalists in the 2022 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship premiered at the NRF Foundation Honors.

NRF Foundation scholarship participants on why it was worth it to apply

Ahead of the announcement at the NRF Foundation Honors of the top recipient in the 2022 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship, the five finalists share an inside look at their experience, which included creating a personal brand video, completing a rigorous retail case study and interviewing with industry executives.

NRF Foundation scholarship will ‘help me launch my career,’ finalist says

“This is going to help me launch my career with the visibility I have to the industry and different retailers. The networking I’ve done has been a great learning experience,” says Brooke Williams, a senior business economics major at Ohio State University.

Realizing your career path with top NRF Foundation scholarship

“I knew I loved the business of the retail industry, but there are times when you doubt yourself. This took that doubt away,” says Marcel Smith, a senior fashion merchandising major at LIM College.

Applying your skills in the top NRF Foundation scholarship

“You have to trust yourself and your process. If you believe in yourself, as far as how to apply your creativity and the skills you’re learning every day in your classes, something really amazing can come out of that," says Sarah May, a senior apparel merchandising major at Indiana University.

Expanding your knowledge with the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship

“A big highlight for me was the case study – showcasing all of my skills in brand research, product development, marketing and finances. I got to have this full experience of incorporating everything I’ve learned," says Sabrina Leibowitz, a junior design and merchandising major at Drexel University. 

How NRF Foundation scholarships build confidence: ‘You can do this.’

“What it taught me was patience with myself – to step back and say, ‘You can do this,” says Robert Davison Long, a junior fashion studies major at Columbia College Chicago.

'It could get them a job.' University professors share the value of NRF Foundation scholarships

The NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship gives undergraduates valuable experience that prepares them for jobs in the retail industry, according to the faculty advisors who have worked alongside the participants throughout the competition.

Next Get Finalists Card
Five finalists in top NRF Foundation scholarship compete for $25,000 award

The NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship competition – presented by SAS – has narrowed to five undergraduates. The top recipient will be announced at the NRF Foundation Honors in New York City.

NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship
10 go-to-market strategies move forward in 2022 NRF Foundation scholarship competition

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.

Amaiya Sims
Columbia College Chicago senior named 2021 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholar

The top recipient of the 2021 Next Generation Scholarship is Amaiya Sims, a senior at Columbia College Chicago. She received $25,000 in the scholarship sponsored by SAS.


See NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship semifinalists from 2014 – present. And if you’re a college student who’d like to apply, you can learn more here.