‘Merchandising Is Both a Science and an Art’

Olivia Meyer, junior Honors College fashion merchandising student, is designing her own success at Kent State University and abroad.

“I appreciate the fact that merchandising is both a science and an art,” Meyer said. “It has served as a springboard for me to explore many different areas of the industry and intertwine my creative passions with analytical skills.”

Meyer came to Kent State from Riverside, Illinois, to pursue a degree in fashion merchandising, and since her freshman year, Meyer has been involved in the Kent State chapter of the National Retail Federation Student Association (NRFSA). 

Olivia Meyer at the Kent State Museum

NRFSA is a pre-professional organization that cultivates an interest in retail education, providing opportunities for service, networking and career development. This past year she has served as the NRFSA president and the NRF Foundation Student Ambassador for Kent State.

Currently, Meyer is a UNESCO & Women @ Dior Mentee while also studying abroad in Florence, Italy. 

Meyer and her team have been tasked to create a Dream for Change project with team members from around the world. The project is meant to empower the lives of young women. 

“Only the top teams are invited to attend the global conference in Paris. I recently found out that my group's Dream for Change project, Femmes Finance, has been selected as one of the top five most inspiring projects worldwide and will move on to the final round of competition,” Meyer said. “My team has been invited to attend the UNESCO x Women@Dior Global Conference at the UNESCO House in Paris, France, where we’ll pitch our Dream for Change project in front of a prestigious jury on March 8, 2023.”

While spending her time abroad, Meyer continues to gain the most out of her studies by attending lectures, workshops and site visits. She expressed her desire to understand the industry, history and culture of Florence.

Olivia Meyer with Next Generation Nominees

On top of international education and this prestigious position, Meyer recently earned a spot in the top five recipients for the NRF Foundation’s Next Generation Scholarship. 

Meyer is thankful for her professor and mentor, Rachel LoMonaco-Benzing, Ph.D., assistant professor in fashion design and merchandising, who has guided her throughout her time at Kent State.

“Dr. LB has helped to deepen my interests in retail education, sustainable business practices, and service,” Meyer said. “This past year, Dr. LB was my mentor for the 2023 NRF Foundation’s Next Generation Scholarship. I am incredibly grateful to Dr. LB for believing in me, for her dedication, and for her steadfast support. She has greatly inspired me to be the leader I am today and has positively shifted the course of my career in an incredibly exciting direction.”

The NRF Foundation describes the Next Generation Scholarship as the pinnacle achievement for students interested in pursuing careers in retail. This opportunity was created for students of various academic backgrounds who have demonstrated leadership skills, previous retail experience and a passion for making an impact.

Since its launch, more than $800,000 in funds have been awarded through the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship.

Although Meyer didn’t win the primary award, she and the other four nominees were awarded a $10,000 scholarship towards tuition. 

Olivia Meyer with NRF nominees

“I was definitely ready for a challenge and just also had such a respect for the NRF Foundation,” Meyer said. “This was the first year that I was eligible to apply.”

After graduation, Meyer is interested in pursuing a graduate degree and going into the retail industry, specifically experiential retail and the customer experience of stores.

“I think what I'm most excited for is the unknown,” Meyer said. “There's some uncertainty in not knowing where you're going to be in the future, but I just know that positive things are in my future.” 

For more information about Kent State University’s School of Fashion, please visit www.kent.edu/fashion

For more information about Kent State NRFSA, please visit www.kent.edu/fashion/nrfsa

For more information about the NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship, please visit www.nrffoundation.org/nextgeneration

For more information about Kent State’s education abroad opportunities, please visit www.kent.edu/EducationAbroad.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 21, 2023 12:47 PM
Updated: Friday, February 24, 2023 04:44 PM
Jordan Bryski, Flash Communications