DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Ashley Nudge, a sophomore merchandising and digital retailing major at the University of North Texas, is one of five college and university students in the U.S. to be chosen as a finalist for the National Retail Federation's Next Generation Scholarship. She is the daughter of Sans and Sue Ann Nudge of Grand Prairie and a 2013 graduate of South Grand Prairie High School.
Nudge is guaranteed at least a $10,000 scholarship for being named a finalist and is the only finalist for the scholarship from a Texas college or university. The other finalists are from Indiana University, LIM College in New York City, Philadelphia University and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
The Next Generation Scholarship program, administered by the NRF Foundation, was created in 2013 to recognize outstanding students who are currently pursuing retail careers. According to the NRF website, the scholarship is the pinnacle achievement for students who have demonstrated the passion and purpose to be a future retail leader.
Students must be enrolled at a college or university that is a partner with the NRF Foundation to qualify for the scholarship, and have an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above. The students must submit essays about their passion for retail careers, their innovative thinking and their understanding of the retail industry. They must also submit two letters of recommendation and complete a creative timeline of influential retailing events, using online tools.
As a finalist for the Next Generation Scholarship, Nudge received $1,500 to attend The Big Show, the NRF's annual conference in New York City. She will interview before a panel of judges Jan. 9 (Friday). The top finalist will be chosen for a $25,000 scholarship, with the four other finalists each receiving $10,000.
Richard Last, director of the digital retailing degree program in UNT's College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism and a lecturer in merchandising and detail retailing, called Nudge "an excellent student who is passionate about a career in retailing."
"I've had the pleasure of having Ashley in my class. She is truly a 'next generation' retail leader. We are very proud of Ashley and are excited that she is bringing UNT and our merchandising and digital retailing programs to this important national stage," Last said.
Nudge, who said she held fashion shows for her Barbie dolls when she was a child, is the current fashion show producer for Merchandising Inc., a professional development organization for students who are interested in fashion, home furnishings and digital retailing. She will direct the organization's spring 2015 fashion show in April. She is also a member of the UNT's National Retail Federation Student Association and is a student ambassador for the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism.
Nudge has worked as a sales associate and visual specialist for the Banana Republic Factory Store at Grand Prairie Premium Outlets since August 2012. She also worked at Dallas Market Center this past summer, representing the Miss Me jeans line as a wholesale representative.
At South Grand Prairie High School, Nudge was a member of the National Honor Society, president of the Fashion Club and the Student Council, fundraising chair for Make-A-Wish North Texas, a team captain for Relay for Life and student coordinator of the blood drive.
After receiving her bachelor's degree in merchandising and digital retailing from UNT in 2017, Nudge plans to work in fashion styling.