Julia Marr, a Junior in Supply Chain Management and a Lab Assistant at the Auburn RFID Lab, received a scholarship from NRF to attend the 2017 conference in NYC. We sat down with her to discuss the process, the highlights, and her takeaways.
First, some background. NRF stands for the National Retail Foundation and every year they host a conference in New York. They invite thousands of companies to attend, speak, and showcase their latest innovations and technologies. Every year they offer scholarships allowing 2 students from every university in the U.S. to attend free of cost.
We asked Julia, why only two students? "One student is selected from the College of Human Sciences and one is selected from the College of Business. Human Sciences is involved because they handle the fashion merchandising side of things and business was invited to the conference for more of the Supply Chain Management perspective. They are looking to merge the two perspectives as much as possible now." Pulling the best student from each college gave the attending students the unique opportunity to connect with those at other universities and learn from those working on the other side of the spectrum in the retail chain.
But what about the scholarship itself? "The process was pretty difficult. I had to write 3 essays and create a timeline of retail and how RFID has been implemented over the years. It was a pretty intensive process, it took a couple days to fill out." She continued and stated that "..the students at the lab were encouraged to apply because we have such a vast knowledge of what is happening in the RFID world and retail."
It was an intense process, but with only one student being selected from her college, it had to be. Was it worth it? Julia discussed how inspiring the conference was for someone in her position. "It was a very inspiring conference. There were huge business leaders there. The most inspiring was probably Macy's. They just placed such an emphasis on tasks that we do every day at the lab and how those are being used every day in their stores. It showed how they've achieved their dreams and goals, just starting off small as a student researcher or working in a lab and growing their business and fulfilling their dreams."
To finish the interview off, we asked her if she would recommend the conference to other students. Would she recommend applying for the 2018 scholarship? Her answer? "I would absolutely recommend future students to apply! It's intimidating, but I would encourage them to apply anyway."
So check them out here, and we look forward to seeing if another lab assistant attends next year!
Want to see the entire interview? Head to our YouTube page and check it out!