For optimal user experience, please upgrade your browser.

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

Class of 2017 - Ray Greenly

Floating Widget

Floating Share Widget

Undergraduate and graduate students from more than 40 schools across the country applied for the 2017 Ray Greenly Scholarship, created to help address retailers’ increasing needs for tech talent. This year’s scholarship was divided into two phases, the first of which required applicants to submit an innovation essay and personal brand video. Phase two, developed in partnership with West Elm, presented a unique case study in which applicants were tasked with creating an innovative digital prototype that could serve as a complementary resource to the in-store experience for West Elm’s customers. 

Digital retail executives from 20 companies including Williams-Sonoma, Kohl’s, Nordstrom and Cornerstone Brands served as judges to select 25 semi-finalists based on the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated in their applications. The semi-finalists received travel stipends to attend the 2017 Student Experience at Shop.org in Los Angeles, September 25-27, and a panel of executive judges awarded the top applicant with a $25,000 scholarship. Four runners-up each received a $10,000 scholarship. 

Related press releases: 

25 semi-finalists named for NRF Foundation's 2017 Ray Greenly Scholarship

NRF Foundation awards 2017 Ray Greenly Scholarships

2017 Top Recipient

Tess Burns

Tess Burns

Savannah College of Art and Design - Savannah
Fashion Marketing and Management

After completing a digital innovation project for a luxury makeup brand, Tess was inspired by the power of technology to transform the future of retail and became eager to expand her knowledge in the areas of emerging technologies and the omnichannel retail experience. Tess hopes to leverage her academic background and real-world retail experiences to ultimately promote sustainability efforts across manufacturing and supply chain processes to help retailers and consumers alike become more environmentally conscious. 

2017 Finalists

Jessica Bachansingh

Jessica Bachansingh

Florida State University
Retail Merchandising and Product Development

After growing up in a multicultural household, Jessica was eager to apply her international mindset to the fashion industry. Three years ago, she founded a sewing program for women in Ethiopia and created the ‘Gifts of Confidence’ brand, which markets and sells scarves directly produced in the sewing classroom that Jessica established. Now, Jessica hopes to use her academic knowledge of retail merchandising to expand her business, empower women globally and play a key role in sustainable and ethical advancements in retail. 

Quinn Vissak

Quinn Vissak

University of Connecticut
Engineering and Computer Science

Fascinated by the industry’s technological transformation, Quinn is pursuing his degree in engineering and computer science to equip himself with the knowledge and skills to join the battle in helping bricks-and-mortar retailers harness the power of omnichannel solutions in an increasingly digital era. Quinn’s admirable work ethic and love of learning drive him to embrace “the limitless possibilities technology creates,” both for retailers and in his own career. 

Eric Wagner

Eric Wagner

University of Florida
Mechanical Engineering

Highly ambitious and entrepreneurial, Eric is determined to make his mark in digital retail by bringing a creative twist to engineering. During his college career, Eric founded three ecommerce businesses, including an engineering-niche apparel business for which he designs and markets all products himself. He hopes to make a lasting impact in retail by applying his skills to develop products that inspire pride and confidence within the STEM field. 

Julian Walker

Julian Walker

Northwestern University
Master’
s in Integrated Marketing

Known for his contagious positivity and upbeat spirit, Julian launched his career in retail five years ago through a variety of internships and full-time roles at reputable brands and has been hooked on the industry ever since. His real-world experiences have fueled his passion for digital retail, marketing and the power of omnichannel integration. He is pursuing a master’s degree in integrated marketing in the hopes of furthering his skills in strategy and innovation to become a retail marketing expert and create a lasting impact on consumers.

2017 Semi-Finalists

Natalie Alonzo

Natalie Alonzo

Pennsylvania State University

Virginia Angeletti

Virginia Angeletti

LIM College

 

Eric Beaudette

Eric Beaudette

Cornell University

 

Lea Chen

Lea Chen

University of Pennsylvania

 

Jack Griffin

Jack Griffin

University of Michigan

 

Marika Gutzman

Marika Gutzman

University of Virginia

 

Shuli Hervitz

Shuli Hervitz

Columbia University

Alin Intravisit

Alin Intravisit

Fashion Institute of Technology

Sammantha Johnson

Sammantha Johnson

Savannah College of Art and Design - Atlanta

Madeline Jones

Madeline Jones

Texas Christian University

 

McKinna Kahl

McKinna Kahl

Kent State University

 

Valentina Lopez-Diaz

Valentina Lopez-Diaz

University of Florida

 

Sophie Manum

Sophie Manum

Mount Holyoke College

Madeline Medby

Madeline Medby

LIM College

Faith Newton

Faith Newton

Savannah College of Art and Design - Savannah

Rebecca Olsen

Rebecca Olsen

East Carolina University

 

Sabrina Pusatera

Sabrina Pusatera

Butler University

 

Devin Salmon

Devin Salmon

Haverford College

 

Egbert Sayers

Egbert Sayers

North Shore Community College

Sarah Wright

Sarah Wright

Iowa State University

Did you know?

One out of five full-time, salaried positions on the NRF Job Board are digital careers in e-commerce or IT.

NRF Student Association

Take advantage of NRF Student Association membership benefits and student programs. Learn more or join