Kent State Fashion Merchandising Student Announced as Semi-Finalist for 2021 NRF Next Generation Scholarship
Valerie Gilbert, a senior fashion merchandising student from the Kent State University School of Fashion was recently announced as one of 25 semi-finalists for the 2020-2021 Nation Retail Federation (NRF) Next Generation Scholarship.
Gilbert and the 24 other undergraduate semi-finalists will complete a case study created in collaboration with PetSmart, Inc. as they contend for a top award of $25,000 and recognition as a future leader in the retail industry.
The first part of the competition consisted of a panel of 48 judges from 18 national retail companies reviewing applications submitted by nearly 100 students from 44 universities nationwide. The judges narrowed the selection down to 25 semi-finalists. Each semi-finalist automatically receives a $1,000 scholarship towards their college tuition.
They will spend the next several weeks completing the PetSmart case study, developing a drive-aisle strategy for the retailer that encompasses elements of research, general business strategy, merchandise planning, marketing and finance. Each finalist will also participate in two phone interviews with assigned retailers.
During the next round, 10 students will be chosen to advance to quick-fire video interviews. The applicants will then be narrowed down to five finalists, who will have final round interviews with members of the NRF Foundation Board of Directors. Of the finalists, four will each receive a $10,000 scholarship and one will receive a $25,000 scholarship.
Kent State Fashion is well-represented at the competition every year. Recent graduate, Lauren Prior served as the 2020 Kent State representative and made it to the top 10 finalists in the competition. In 2019, graduate Lauren-Ashley Solomon made it to the top 5, receiving a $10,000 scholarship.
Since its launch, more than $800,000 in funds have been awarded through the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship.