Fashion Merchandising Students Secure $35,000 in Top Industry ScholarshipsPosted Feb. 24, 2014
Five students from Kent State University’s Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising (the Fashion School) were awarded some of the most prestigious scholarships in the field, earning a total of $35,000 in 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,” says 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 Young Menswear Association (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 on Jan. 8 in New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
The event honored 131 Fashion Scholarship Fund 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.
Fashion Scholarship Fund 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 Fashion Scholarship Fund awarded then-student Kate Ruque — now an assistant buyer at Bergdorf Goodman — a Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship worth $25,000. Two of the 2014 Fashion Scholarship Fund 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 about the scholarships, visit
http://nrffoundation.com/content/next-generation-scholarship or http://fashionscholarshipfund.org/.