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 2023 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 January 15 in New York City.
Prior to the announcement of the top recipient, a video featuring all five finalists in the 2023 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship premiered at the NRF Foundation Honors.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.