Ambitious students from more than 35 NRF Foundation member schools competed to represent the next generation of retail leaders. The students below will receive travel stipends to attend the 2020 NRF Foundation Student Program and 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 top 10 scholar. These 10 students will undergo virtual interviews for the chance to be selected as one of five finalists.
The top recipient will be announced at the NRF Foundation Honors and will receive a $25,000 scholarship; four finalists will each receive $10,000 scholarships.
University of Arizona
A senior at the University of Arizona, Maria Hartke has known since high school that her passion and vision for her future were in retail. Maria already has a wide variety of retail experiences under her belt at companies including Tillys, Buffalo Exchange, DSW, Inc. and most recently, Kohl’s Corporate, each of which contributed to her depth of understanding for the industry today. After graduation, Maria hopes to find a role in product development, merchandising and planning. “I want to be a part of creating a story, sourcing and developing the product, and solving “the last mile” for the consumer.”
University of Florida
Lisa Lam first discovered her love for retail after working for two fashion tech startups and has been dedicated to building a career for herself in retail ever since. Now a senior at the University of Florida studying Finance with a minor in Retail Leadership, Lisa is most intrigued by the integration of technology in today’s shopping experience. Her dream job is to be a disruptive entrepreneur at the forefront of innovation in retail. “Growing up, I’ve witnessed so many different and exciting retail models. I hope to be a leader in innovation as the retail continues to change with the help of technology”.
First inspired by her family starting a children’s clothing brand, Annie Hope Mazzola followed her intuition and is confident that the retail industry is where she belongs. Her summer internships in brand communications at Vans Asia Pacific Headquarters and product development at Urban Outfitters solidified her drive for product development and innovation, which she hopes to explore further after graduation. She is also passionate about innovations within sustainable sourcing and dreams of creating a 100% sustainable brand that harnesses innovation to make positive change.
Madeline Medby, a senior at LIM College studying merchandising, has embraced every opportunity that has come her way to help shape her promising career in the retail industry. She has held positions at Zara, Aritzia, Francesca’s, Michael Kors, Speedo, Tommy Hilfiger and Ross Stores, and participated in the NRF Foundation’s Student Ambassador Program, Ray Greenly Scholarship and Student Program conferences (all outside of her academics!). After graduation, Maddy will be starting as an Assistant Buyer at Ross Stores and is excited to become fully integrated into a business that motivates and inspires her.
Texas A&M University
LeAnn Percivill takes immense ownership and pride in playing a role in the retail industry and is inspired by the real, actionable change retailers can create to make a difference in the world. As a first-generation college student, LeAnn has capitalized on every opportunity to work multiple retail jobs, pursue her degree and prioritize professional development as the President of Texas A&M’s Student Retailing Association, all while exploring the areas of retail that excite her the most. “Retail is exciting, challenging, and is an industry I can put my tenacity and grit into action.”