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NRF and University of Phoenix announced the 20 retail employees selected to receive full-tuition scholarships to help advance their retail careers

Retail employees earn scholarships to advance their careers through education

Washington, 2014-9-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation, in collaboration with University of Phoenix, today announced the 20 retail employees selected to receive full-tuition scholarships to help advance their retail careers. Hundreds of individuals from more than 75 retailers across the country applied for NRF’s “Dream BIG” Scholarship, and a panel of top retail executives selected the 20 deserving recipients. The full-tuition scholarships for undergraduate or master’s degree programs at University of Phoenix will allow retail employees to pursue a wide array of career paths available in the industry, with the flexibility to continue to work while advancing their education. The Dream BIG scholarship program is open to any individual working part-time or full-time for a retail company.

“Retail is full of big dreamers, who don’t just have a vision, but an ability to roll up their sleeves, work hard, and get the job done. Each of the scholarship recipients has already made a positive impact on the industry, but the best is yet to come. By furthering their education, they’re opening up a new world of career opportunities and NRF can’t wait to see what they accomplish,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retail is a better place because of the passion, hard work, and dedication of the Dream BIG recipients and so many others like them who work every day to provide exceptional value to their customers.”

“The retail environment gets more fast-paced and analytical every day, and education is critical for individuals who want to take leadership roles in their organizations and achieve career progression,” said Ruth Veloria, executive dean of University of Phoenix School of Business. “The collaboration between University of Phoenix and the National Retail Federation emphasizes the diverse and significant growth opportunities that exist in retail careers. The University is proud to bring additional attention to this important sector and to help the scholarship recipients realize their full leadership potential.”

The 2014 recipients of the Dream BIG scholarships are:

Name Title Employer Degree pursuing
Damion Butler Assistant Store Manager Microsoft Stores Bachelor’s
Angelo Chavez District Loss Prevention Manager/ORC Manager Albertsons Master’s
Joel Cosme Jr. Customer Relations Representative Express, Inc. Master’s
Samantha Couture Sales Professional Tiffany & Co. Bachelor’s
Leigh Deal Store Manager – Training The Container Store Master’s
Marissa De La Cruz Area Manager Mattress Firm, Inc. Master’s
Rebecca Fox Store Manager Dollar General Corporation Bachelor’s
Dawn Justen Senior Analyst, Research and Analysis HSN Master’s
Melissa Karrer Area Designer Crate and Barrel Master’s
Althea Kearney Sales Trainer The Container Store Master’s
Ronald Kozak LAN Coordinator Boscov’s Department Store, LLC Bachelor’s
Traci Merrick General Manager Crate and Barrel Master’s
Laura Muro Server Red Lobster Bachelor’s
Rowetta Roberson Interim District Manager Mattress Firm, Inc. Bachelor’s
Addie Romanowski Sales Representative HSN Bachelor’s
Cassandra Ross Store Manager Kroger Bachelor’s
Lina Sabic Associate Store Operations Specialist PacSun Master’s
Mike Templeton Digital Marketing Manager Kum & Go Master’s
Kristi Webb Store Sales Lead Sur La Table Master’s
Bryan Winter Operational Sales The Container Store Master’s


Executives from some of the industry’s most well-known companies, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Hudson’s Bay Company and Neiman Marcus Group served on the Dream BIG executive judging committee.

NRF surprised six retail employees at work with their big news. See the video here.

The Dream BIG Scholarship program is provided through a partnership between NRF’s nonprofit arm, the NRF Foundation and University of Phoenix. NRF Foundation and University of Phoenix will offer the Dream BIG Scholarship again in 2015; applications are expected to open in January. View recipient profiles and learn more about the Dream BIG Scholarship.

University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting 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.

Kathy Grannis
(202) 783-7971
(855) NRF-Press

University of Phoenix: Tanya Burden 602.254.0086

EPR Retail News