Button: Member Login

NRF Announces 10 Recipients of Full-Tuition “Dream BIG” Scholarships

For Immediate Release
Shari Brown or Kathy Grannis (855) NRF-PRESS
browns@nrf.com or grannisk@nrf.com

NRF Announces 10 Recipients of Full-Tuition “Dream BIG” Scholarships
- University of Phoenix and NRF partnership provides 10 retail associates with scholarships to advance careers through education -

Washington, August 7, 2013 - The National Retail Federation, in partnership with University of Phoenix, announced today the names of 10 individuals who will receive full-tuition scholarships to fulfill their educational and professional dreams by undertaking a bachelor’s or MBA program with University of Phoenix.

The Dream BIG scholarship program was launched in January 2013 and was open to any individual working part-time or full-time for a retail company. Hundreds of people from more than 80 companies across the country applied, and in June a panel of top retail executives selected the 10 deserving recipients. The full-tuition scholarships will allow retail associates to pursue a wide-array of career paths available in the retail industry, with the added flexibility to continue to work and live at home while advancing their education.

The 2013 recipients of the Dream BIG scholarships are:

•    Stephanie Brovender, manager, talent resources, ANN INC., New York, NY (Bachelor’s degree)
•    Erica Gordon-Roberts, human resources coordinator, Kroger, Lithonia, GA (MBA)
•    Chaz Grunder, assistant manager, Stater Bros., Corona, CA (Bachelor’s degree)
•    Erika Harrel, personnel clerk, Stater Bros., Riverside, CA (MBA)
•    Dylan Lauzon, senior enterprise risk analyst, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Hermosa Beach, CA (MBA)
•    Christine Liberto, pharmacist, Walmart, New Milford, CT (MBA)
•    Adam Naumann, district supervisor and store manager, Wildcat Wearhouse, Louisville, KY (MBA)
•    Ryan Sexauer, district sales leader, Sleep Train Inc., Santa Cruz, CA (Bachelor’s degree)
•    Daniel White, store manager visual sales, The Container Store, Columbus, OH (MBA)
•    Jonathon Wolheim, manager, Apple, Temecula, CA (Bachelor’s degree)

"We are honored to recognize the passion and ambition of our Dream BIG scholarship recipients," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "Retail offers richly rewarding and diverse career opportunities to hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans. The stories these individuals shared through their applications show that retail is more than just a job - it is a fulfilling, challenging career path for those who work hard and want to achieve great things."

“The determination of these individuals deserves to be recognized,” said University of Phoenix Chief Business Operating Officer Barry Feierstein. “The recipients of this scholarship are proof that you can pursue your career goals and an education in tandem – a guiding principle at University of Phoenix. The economy needs an educated and skilled workforce, and the Dream BIG Scholarship will help make that happen for 10 deserving people.”

In June 2013, a panel of top retail executives gathered for the Dream BIG Executive Judging Committee to select the 10 recipients. The judges were:

•    Bloomin' Brands, Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Liz Smith
•    H-E-B Chief Information Officer, Gavin Gallagher
•    HSNi Chief Executive Officer, Mindy Grossman
•    Macy's Group Vice President Human Resources m-com, Marketing, Chris Meier
•    NRF Foundation Executive Director, Ellen Davis
•    Oriental Trading Company Chief Executive Officer, Sam Taylor
•    PETCO Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Herman Nell
•    The Container Store General Manager – Tampa, Marvin Price
•    The Polka Dot Press Owner, Kim Williams
•    University of Phoenix Assistant Dean of the School of Business, Kevin Wilhelmsen
•    University of Phoenix Associate Dean of the School of Business, Alisa Fleming
•    Walmart Vice President of International Mergers & Acquisitions, Leslie Fletcher
•    Winn-Dixie Vice President, Loss Prevention, Dan Faketty

The Dream BIG scholarship program is provided through a partnership between NRF’s nonprofit arm, the NRF Foundation, and University of Phoenix.

For more information about the Dream BIG 2013 recipients, view their profiles at www.thisisretail.org/dreambig.

University of Phoenix and NRF plan to run the Dream BIG scholarship program again in 2014, providing more retail associates with the opportunity to further their careers through education. People interested in Dream BIG 2014 can register online at www.phoenix.edu/dreambig.

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 is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the National Retail Federation and is funded in part by generous donations from retail industry supporters. www.nrffoundation.com.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com.