Kent State Fashion Merchandising Students Secure $35,000 in Top Industry ScholarshipsPosted Feb. 11, 2014
Five students from the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising (the Fashion School) at Kent State University were awarded some of the most prestigious scholarships in the field, earning a total of $35,000 in scholarship funds.
Fashion merchandising major Elizabeth Heibertshausen of Attica, Ohio, was one of only five students nationwide to receive a Next Generation Scholarship from the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation. She also received additional recognition as the competition’s runner-up, for which she was granted a special scholarship worth $15,000.
The panel awarding the scholarship was composed of executives from prominent companies, including: Mindy Grossman, NRF Foundation chair and CEO of the Home Shopping Network; Steve Sadove, former chair and CEO of Saks Incorporated; and Anne Voller, vice president of talent acquisition at Macy's. “After getting to know these students through their essays and the interview process, it was hugely rewarding to formally recognize them as future leaders in retail,” said Grossman in a statement.
The Next Generation Scholarship awards were presented on Jan. 13 before a massive industry audience as part of “Retail’s BIG Show,” the annual conference of the NRF, in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. This was the inaugural year for the scholarship.
The previous week, four Kent State students — also fashion merchandising majors — were presented with scholarships by the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF): Laura Adams of Mansfield, Ohio; Olufisayo Akanni of Naperville, Ill.; Alexandre Marr of Poland, Ohio; and Kelly Wise of Westlake, Ohio. Each received $5,000 and was invited to attend the gala awards dinner held Jan. 8 in New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
The event honored 131 FSF recipients, who were selected from a pool of 255 applicants from 45 participating schools. More than 1,000 fashion luminaries attended the dinner, which doubled as a fundraiser and collected $1.85 million in support of future scholarship awards.
FSF applicants were given case studies involving retailers with operational and financial performance challenges. Each student had to submit a comprehensive action plan that detailed viable research-based solutions addressing the retailer’s obstacles.
In 2012, the YMA FSF awarded then-student Kate Ruque — now an assistant buyer at Bergdorf Goodman — a Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship worth $25,000. Two of the 2014 FSF scholars, juniors Akanni and Wise, are eligible to compete for next year’s Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship, which now offers a prize of $30,000 to advance budding careers in fashion.
The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund grew out of the former Young Menswear Association, a legacy preserved in the nonprofit’s current name.
For more information on the scholarships, please visit:
Photo of Elizabeth Heibertshausen
Kent State University fashion merchandising student Elizabeth Heibertshausen was awarded a $15,000 scholarship from the National Retail Federation, presented here by Home Shopping Network CEO Mindy Grossman.
Photo of Fashion Scholarship Fund winners
Four Kent State University fashion merchandising students were each presented with a $5,000 scholarship by the Fashion Scholarship Fund at their annual awards dinner on Jan. 8. Left to right: Kelly Wise; Fashion School Director J.R. Campbell; Laura Adams; Olufisayo Akanni; and Alexandre Marr.
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