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

The experience builds skills and confidence, educators say
By Lottie Watts
Published Feb 23, 2022

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.

The 2022 finalists will be joined by their advisors at the NRF Foundation Honors in New York City for the announcement of the top recipient on April 13. The top recipient will receive a $25,000 scholarship, while the other four will each get $10,000.

In the video below, the professors reflect on the significance of the experience and share why they encourage their students to participate in the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship.

Here are a few takeaways from the faculty advisors for the 2022 finalists:

LIM College Associate Professor of Fashion Merchandising and Marketing Marla Greene:

I encourage the students to apply for this because 1. It's prestigious 2. It could get them a job 3. It compliments their education. We give them the basics in the classroom. This gives them the strategy that they need to succeed.

Indiana University Center for Innovative Merchandising Co-Director and Merchandising Lecturer Dana Olsen:

The NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship really builds our students' confidence, especially in what they learned in the classroom but also their skill sets in being able to think strategically and analytically and creatively problem solve. It's all these skills that we use in the industry.

Ohio State University Associate Clinical Professor of Fashion and Retail Studies Julie Hillery:

It's just such a great opportunity. This is a real-world application that you're going to be working on. And I believe with everything you've learned – the network that you have available to you – that you can do well with this.

Columbia College Chicago Associate Professor of Fashion Studies Merchandising Dana Connell:

This really positions our students for the industry and for the careers that they're going into. It's such a unique opportunity that is not seen in all disciplines. It takes them beyond their comfort zone. And I think that's what is so important because that's how we all grow.

Drexel University Assistant Teaching Professor of Design and Merchandising Maureen DeSimone:

The NRF Foundation brings an immense amount of opportunities for our students to compete at the national level and for our program to be on the national stage. Nothing makes me happier than to see a student stepping forward in their path and reaching their goals.

Undergraduates and educators are invited to get more information about the 2023 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship during our informational calls scheduled for March 1 and April 5 (sign up here). Deadline to apply: May 2

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