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Two TWU fashion students win National Retail Federation Student Challenge competition


TWU fashion students

Emily Mince, left, and Deema Aridi

DENTON — Texas Woman’s University fashion merchandising seniors Deema Aridi of Allen and Emily Mince of Grapevine recently won the 2015 Student Challenge Competition sponsored by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association.

According to the NRF, Ms. Aridi and Ms. Mince took home the top scholarship and “bragging rights” with their product idea, the GradCap Kit — a do-it-yourself mortar board decorating kit. Ms. Aridi and Ms. Mince submitted business plans and a pitch video of their product idea during Retail’s BIG Show 2015 convention in New York City in January, where they were announced as the winners of the NRF 2105 Student Challenge.

“Having TWU students win this prestigious national competition sponsored by the NRF, which is considered the industry standard in retail, speaks to the quality and caliber of our fashion merchandising students and our program,” said Dr. Deborah Young, professor and director of the TWU Fashion and Textiles Program, who mentored the TWU team. “I am extremely proud of both Deema and Emily for their extreme level of commitment to this project, which was demonstrated through endless meetings, point-on contributions, negotiated compromises, and overall hard work. I never had any doubt that this exceptional team would win!”

As the winners of the competition, Ms. Aridi and Ms. Mince each will receive a $2,500 scholarship.

“Winning this competition means that our months of hard work and dedication to this project actually paid off,” Ms. Aridi said. “Because of this competition, I have learned more than I could ever imagine about the retail industry. I could not be more proud that Emily and I were able to participate in such an incredible program and accept an award from an organization as prestigious as the National Retail Federation.”

Ms. Mince added, “The experience of this competition and being recognized for our work is one of my biggest accomplishments. Creating a product and business plan like it was meant to be put on the shelves taught me more than I thought I would ever know. Being a part of the NRF Student Challenge has opened up many doors for me, and I feel so blessed to have been a part of it.”

Now in its second year, the NRF Student Challenge is a business-case competition for NRF Student Association members to highlight their creativity and business acumen to retail executives. Members of the student association from across the U.S. participated in the competition, with the top three finalists invited to present their project at Retail’s Big Show. More information about the NRF student challenge can be found at

Media Contact:

Amanda Simpson
Director of Media Relations

page updated 5/9/2016 4:57 PM