The National Retail Federation and University of Phoenix Announce the 2016 Recipients of “Dream BIG” Scholarships

WASHINGTON--()--The National Retail Federation and University of Phoenix have named the fourth annual Dream BIG Scholarship recipients for 2016, awarding individuals whose dreams to further their education will now become a reality. Since the program started in 2013, 70 recipients have been awarded full-tuition scholarships with an estimated value of $3.4 million.*

The 20 recipients of the 2016 Dream BIG Scholarships — all current retail employees — were selected out of hundreds of applicants from more than 90 retailers across the country. These deserving retail employees will soon be able to pursue a master’s or undergraduate degree at University of Phoenix through the University’s collaboration with NRF to provide each recipient with a full-tuition scholarship.

“Each one of these scholarship recipients was chosen because they believe in working hard, getting the job done and helping the retail industry grow,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Although each recipient has already made a positive impact on the industry, the best is yet to come. Furthering their education can help enhance career opportunities for them in retail and we at NRF can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

“Opportunities in retail continue to grow as technology and consumer demands drive change within the industry,” University of Phoenix Executive Dean for the School of Business Ruth Veloria said. “Education can be an important piece to help pursue career and leadership opportunities in this field — especially given how diverse the career paths are. University of Phoenix is proud to team up with the National Retail Federation to develop the next generation of leaders in retail by providing an industry-aligned education designed to help them succeed.”

The recipients of the 2016 Dream BIG Scholarship are:

Name   City/State   Degree Pursuing   Company   Title
Kina Albritton   Nashville, TN   Bachelor's   Journeys   Merchandiser
Rosa Bazan   Burlington, NJ   Master's   Burlington Stores   Assistant Buyer
Consuelo Belton   Jacksonville, FL   Bachelor's   Walgreens   Administrative Assistant
Danielle Davidson   Nashville, TN   Bachelor's   maurices   Assistant Manager
Amber Grace   Bradenton, FL   Master's   Beall's Inc   Associate Buyer
Nicole Heiden   Vancouver, WA   Bachelor's   The Kroger Co. (Fred Meyer Division)   Store Sales Director
Heather Hilton   Charlotte, NC   Bachelor's   bebe Stores inc.   Regional Human Resources Manager
Frankie Israel   Charlotte, NC   Bachelor's   West Elm   Sales and Service Manager
Kevin Jackson   Dallas, TX   Bachelor's   The Container Store   Procurement Coordinator
Rebecca Kittle   Mahwah, NJ   Bachelor's   dressbarn   Executive Assistant
Rachael Kuchar   Oak Brook, IL   Master's   vineyard vines   Assistant Store Manager
Shandace Lerma   Seattle, WA   Bachelor's   Nordstrom   Recruiting Analyst
Kristi Malicoat   Chicago, IL   Bachelor's   Whole Foods Market  

Associate Store Team Leader

Brandi McKinney   Cincinnati, OH   Bachelor's   The Kroger Co.   Recruiting Supervisor
Michelle Miranda   New York City, NY   Bachelor's   H&M   Lease Administrator
Elizabeth Murphy   Pleasantville, NY   Master's   Crate and Barrel   Senior Training Lead, Stores
Brittany Pfleuger   Rochester, NY   Master's   EXPRESS, LLC   Store Manager
Lori Savage   Cincinnati, OH   Bachelor's   The Kroger Co.   Item Setup Specialist
Shelley Warden   Fort Worth, TX   Bachelor's  

Pier 1 Imports®

  Business Analyst
Rosa Williams Oyeneye   Raleigh, NC   Master's   MyEyeDr.   Recruiter

Nordstrom, Whole Foods Market, West Elm, dressbarn, The Container Store and The Kroger Co., surprised their Dream BIG scholarship recipients in their workplaces to give them the big news. Watch the video for each surprise here.

Retail executives from some of the industry’s most well-known companies such as Brooks Brothers, Target, and Trunk Club served as members of the executive judging committee that chose the recipients.

The Dream BIG Scholarship program is made possible through a collaboration between NRF’s nonprofit arm, the NRF Foundation, and University of Phoenix. This is the fourth year the NRF Foundation and University of Phoenix have offered the Dream BIG Scholarship for current retail employees.

About University of Phoenix

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

About NRF

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 $2.6 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 retail plays in driving innovation.

*The actual value of any scholarship awarded will depend on many different variables including but not limited to transferability of credits, campus location, modality and degree program.



National Retail Federation
Ana Serafin Smith, 855-NRF-PRESS
University of Phoenix
Heather McLaughlin, 714-338-6429


National Retail Federation
Ana Serafin Smith, 855-NRF-PRESS
University of Phoenix
Heather McLaughlin, 714-338-6429