Columbia Students Take First and Second Place at NRF Foundation’s 2018 Student Challenge Competition

Out of three finalists in the NRF Foundation’s 2018 Student Challenge Competition, two teams of Columbia students were selected for first and second place at the Foundation’s Gala on Jan. 14.

This year’s Student Challenge scenario involved retail matchmaker STORY, with students taking on roles in developing creative, editorial, and merchandising materials. Students pitched STORY ideas to potential sponsors Staples, CVS, and 3M, with 30 teams competing for the finalist spots.

nrf announcementColumbia student teams Passion Project and Micro celebrate in New York.

The top honor went to the Staples team, Passion Project, comprised of Fashion Business student Ashley Cairns, Cinema and Television Arts student Blake Fortin, and Advertising student Kendall McDermott. Each student was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Foundation. Taking second place was the 3M-sponsored Team Micro, lead by Fashion Studies students Allison Coppedge and Sara Diaz de Villegas, Cinema and Television Arts student Nathan Procell, and Design student Lane Hedler. Each student from Team Micro was awarded $2,500. 

Fashion Studies Associate Professor Dana Connell writes that the students “represented Columbia with the utmost integrity,” and were “repeatedly noted for their professionalism, tremendous teamwork, interdisciplinary approach, and exceptional creativity.”