The National Retail Federation Foundation has announced its latest round of Next Generation scholarship finalists.
This year's final five finalists are Sophia Van Slyke from Butler University; Amaiya Sims from Columbia College Chicago; Eugene Choi from Santa Clara University; Madeline Wong from Santa Clara University; and Rachel Bennett from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Launched in 2014 and sponsored by SAS, the scholarship gives monetary awards to students pursuing careers in retail. The top prize winner will be awarded $25,000, while each of the other four finalists will receive $10,000.
Narrowed from an original pool of nearly 100 applicants from 44 NRF University Member Schools, the scholarship awarded 25 students with $1,000 each in its first round. These students were then challenged to complete a case study created in collaboration with PetSmart, Inc. After being evaluated by a team of judges from PetSmart and a dozen other retail companies, the pool of 25 was narrowed to 10 students, who then participated in a virtual interview process with NRF staff and were taken down to the final five.
“SAS congratulates the five finalists and celebrates the success of all the students who participated in the competition,” said SAS Vice President of Consumer and Communications and NRF Foundation board member, James Vickers. “We look forward to encouraging their curiosity and creativity in retail and bringing fresh ideas to the business problems challenging our industry now and in the future.”
The scholarship's top recipient will be chosen after a final round of interviews with the NRF Foundation's board of directors, chaired by Macy’s Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette, and will be announced during the NRF’s virtual 'Big Show Chapter 1' in January of the new year.
Since its launch, the scholarship has given out over $800,000 in scholarship funds.