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Twenty Retail Employees Receive Full-Tuition "Dream BIG" Scholarships from NRF, University of Phoenix

WASHINGTON, September 10, 2015 – The National Retail Federation and University of Phoenix have named the 20 Dream BIG Scholarship recipients for 2015 whose dreams to further their education will now become a reality. The recipients – all current retail employees – were selected out of hundreds of applicants from more than 75 retailers across the country. The deserving retail employees will soon be able to pursue a master’s or undergraduate degree at University of Phoenix thanks to the University’s collaboration with NRF to provide each recipient with a full-tuition scholarship.

“These recipients weren’t chosen by mistake; each of them has proven that they believe in their dreams and that anything is possible in this industry,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Through hard work and determination anyone can succeed in retail, and these 20 individuals are already well on their way to the top. Year after year we recognize similar qualities within our Dream BIG ‘class’; these employees make their workplaces, their communities and our industry better through passion, ambition and determination.”

“Opportunities in retail continue to grow as technology and consumer demands drive change within the industry,” said Ruth Veloria, executive dean for University of Phoenix School of Business. “Education is critical to career advancement and leadership in this field filled with diverse career paths. 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 2015 Dream BIG Scholarship are:

Name Title Employer Degree Pursuing
Julie Brandenburg-Horn Loss Prevention POS Analyst The Kroger Co. Bachelor’s
Tim Hall Zone Asset Protection Manager 7-Eleven, Inc. Bachelor’s
Kasey Harris Store Manager JCPenney Bachelor’s
Victoria Hersey Store Operations Manager Walgreens Bachelor’s
Heather Jacobsen Assistant Store Manager Stein Mart Bachelor’s
Delia Kurland East Coast Regional Operations Manager Crate and Barrel Master’s
Derek LaHair Interim Community Relations Manager Mattress Firm Master’s
Amie Lane Training Manager The Container Store Bachelor’s
Cara Leone Training and Development Partner Goodwill of Southern Nevada Master’s
Timberey Meeks Operations Analyst The Container Store Bachelor’s
Stephanie Mekhjian Store Manager David’s Bridal Bachelor’s
Sally Moore Store Director At Home Bachelor’s
Tammy Nguyen Social Media and Video Project Manager Buckle Master’s
James Ostag Supply Chain Asset Protection Manager Macy’s, Inc. Master’s
Chrissy Raymond Vendor Services Assistant Boscov’s Department Store Bachelor’s
Mark Robinson Store Director Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH Bachelor’s
Carol Rosenauer Director of Supply Services Bealls Inc. Bachelor’s
Andrew Schreiber Area Manager Mattress Firm Master’s
Joel Smith Transportation Manager Gap Inc. Master’s


NRF and University of Phoenix surprised 10 of the Dream BIG scholarship recipients while they were at work to give them the big news. Watch the video of each surprise.

Retail executives from some of the industry’s most well-known companies such as HSNi, West Elm and Alex and Ani 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 third year the NRF Foundation and University of Phoenix have offered the Dream BIG Scholarship for current retail employees. The scholarship will be offered for a fourth year in 2016, with applications expected to open in January 2016. View profiles of the 2015 recipients and learn more about the Dream BIG Scholarship.

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

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 that retail plays in driving innovation.