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NEW awards $30,000 in 2012 scholarships

Wednesday, July 25, 2012  
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The Network of Executive Women has awarded $30,000 in scholarships to seven women pursuing careers in the cpg/retail industry. Scholarships for 2012 were awarded in June to graduate student Ijeoma Arum, attending Columbia University, and undergraduate students Brittany Bishop of the University of Dayton; Chelsea Halat, Mary Sisti and Elizabeth Sclafani of Saint Joseph’s University; Shannon Hapeman of the University of Texas at Dallas; and Sara Simic of Western Michigan University.

Ijeoma Arum, who recently served as an executive team leader in apparel and accessories for Target Corporation, will graduate with a masters of business administration degree from Columbia Business School in 2014. She earned a degree in communication studies, with an accounting minor, from University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. The MBA student "effectively uses her strong analytical skills to understand problems and quickly come to optimal solutions,” noted Scott Percival, who worked with Arum as a Target senior executive team leader. "She also uses her curiosity and natural desire to learn to connect to others, collaborate with other teams and strengthen relationships within the organization. Despite her strengths in analyzing data and intellectual processes, one thing that separates ljeoma from her peers is that she is able to translate those thoughts and analysis into actions and lead people to solve problems and deliver great results.”

Brittany Bishop, a marketing major who will graduate from the University of Dayton in 2014, served as an intern at Acosta Sales and Marketing last summer. "It was an amazing experience,” Bishop said. "I wanted to go into business before working at Acosta, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. While there, I was exposed to the retail environment, [including] retail pricing and promotional activities. I had the opportunity to interact with the local Acosta business managers, CPG sales managers and Kroger category managers. I learned firsthand about the process of launching a new item by tracking in-store activity and running weekly sales reports. This well-rounded experience sparked my interest even more to pursue a career in the CPG industry.”

St. Joseph's University scholars

Chelsea Halat, a food marketing major who will graduate from St. Joseph’s University in 2013, credits a full-time cooperative learning internship with The Hershey Company for introducing her to category development and other aspects of the cpg/retail industry. "I gained a larger understanding of the many stages and processes involved in even delivering one Hershey's candy bar to the grocery store. I am intrigued by how complex the food industry is,” she said, adding she hopes to combine her interest in and love of food marketing and social justice issues in a career that focuses on non-profit organizations or nutritional education.

Mary Sisti, also a food marketing major who will graduate from St. Joseph’s University in 2013, is the university’s student body president. She has worked as a summer intern for Wegmans Food Markets and served as a St. Joseph’s University Food Marketing Ambassador at the National Grocer's Association conference in Las Vegas. "Mary has all the tools needed to be a leader in the food industry,” said George Latella, professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph's University. "I use the term ‘I.D.’ with my students to help them understand the kinds of things I look for in people. The ‘I’ stands for intensity, intelligence and integrity. The ‘D’ stands for discipline, dedication and desire. She has shown all of these traits.”

Elizabeth Sclafani, who is majoring in food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University and expects to graduate in 2013, was accepted into the Wal-Mart Scholars program, which gave her the opportunity to work on a research project focused on consumers who participate in government-assisted food programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and WIC. She also served as a marketing intern for a gourmet specialty market. Over the summer, she worked with the Richard George, chair of the university’s department of food marketing, to explore the use of social media to reach out to consumers enrolled government-assisted food programs. "I like brainstorming creative ideas, and feel as if my experiences help me understand the wonderful world of food,” she said.

Shannon Hapeman, who will graduate with a degree in statistics from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2013, credits an introduction to marketing class for her career choice. "I took the class on a whim,” she said. "At the same time, I started a retail job at The Body Shop. I was simply looking for an elective and a paycheck, but found instead a passion and a joy. Both my mathematics and marketing classes took on new meaning, as I related my work in the industry to my textual definitions. My job became a ‘want-to’ instead of a ‘have-to.’” Her after-college career goals include a position as a marketing research analyst. "I love the concept of taking information and finding the stories behind the numbers,” Hapeman said. "I know that through data and data analytics I can discover the reasons for consumer behaviors, why certain business concepts succeed or fail and how the world works in general. There are always new questions to be asked, new thoughts to explore.”

Sara Simic, who is majoring in both food marketing and integrated supply management, will graduate from Western Michigan University in 2013. An internship in with the Detroit Pistons’ brand marketing department solidified her interest in a marketing career, leading to participation in the university’s Food Marketing Association. Born into a Croatian-American family, Simic has a strong interest in helping local retailers attract more multicultural customers, noted Thaweephan (Duke) Leingpibul, associate professor of logistics and supply chain at WMU. "[Her] honor thesis focuses on how local retailers can extend their roles beyond ‘just retail’ toward a center of community.” The scholarship awardees will be recognized at the NEW Leadership Summit 2012, Oct. 22-24 in Dallas.




Ijeoma Arum



Brittany Bishop


Shannon Hapeman


Mary Sisti


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