Fall 2016 Newsletter 

Happy Holidays!

We all wish you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful 
New Year!

W hat a great s emester we've had here. Enrollment in the Retailing & Consumer Behavior major is up 40% from the beginning of the fall semes ter of 2015. Maybe even more exciting is the fact that  there is a large uptick in the number of first year students declaring R eta iling as a major upon acceptanc e to the University. On top of all of that, we are engaging   more and more students from other majors across the university who want to explore the retailing industry.

Thanks to all of our great partners and friends we have been able to share the excitement and opportunity that Retailing & Consumer Behavior has to offer.

Our trips, our case studies and the multiple industry speakers we've brought to campus bring the industry to life. It is our hope that all of our supporters take great pride in making such great opportunities available to our students.

It is a wonderful feeling to know we've been an important resource for students to find their future career. Thanks to you we get to experience that feeling on a consistent basis.

Center for Retailing Welcomes New Assistant Director
 A  Note from Danielle Croegaert 

Hello everyone!

I n early Augus t 2016 , I  began my new role as Assistant Director of the Kohl's Center for Retailing, but am not new to the pro gr am.  I am a 2010 graduate of the Retailing major and am very excited to 
be back on campus working  with Jerry to advance the mission of the Center that so positively shaped my ca reer trajectory!

Prior to returning to UW, I served as a Campus Life Advisor, guiding over 100 student organizations at Sonoma State University in beautiful wine country, while also leading marketing and communication strategies for the Bay Area Badgers alumni chapter.  

Bringing with me background in both retail management and college student caree r and leadership development, it is my goal to foster an environment where students-in the School of Human Ecology and across campus- can creatively explore the world of retailing and interact one-on-one with 
companies that share a similar excitement for the industry.   Whether you are a student, fellow alumni, retailer and/or partner organization, I look forward to sharing this experience with you!  Please feel free to reach out via email (dcroegaert@wisc.edu) or phone (608.890.0109) any time with ideas, questions, feedback, and requests. 

On Wisconsin!

Krista Berry
Alumni Executi ve-in-Residence

Krista Berry served as our inaugural Alumni Executive in R e sidence this fall semester. As part of the Executive in Residence program, Krista visited sever al times monthly to present in and participate in classes, advise on retail career development, and mentor students involved in independent study and case studies.

Thank you for your service to our students, Krista! 

Krista Berry served as the Chief Digital Officer for Kohl's Department Stores. Prio r to that,  she served as the General Manager for Nike Direct to Consumer for North America gro wing their omni-channel businesses. Krista began her retail career at Marshall Field's / Target Corporation where she spent the first years of her career in a variety of positions including merchandising, planning and ultimately becoming a Group Manager of Target.com. 

Krista is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and the School of Human Ecology, that launched her passion in retail through their internship program. Krista and two of her brothers are Badger alumni. Last year she was thrilled to be honored with a  Distinctive Fellowship Award from the University.
She and her family are huge Badger fans and enjoy spending as much time in Madison as possible. Volunteering with the students is one of her favorite activities. She and her husband Jerry and son Max currently live in Hartland, WI. Her oldest son Tanner is currently enjoying his Sophomore year as a Badger! 

Krista with a group of students from the Retail Leadership Symposium after leading a discussion about how retail companies are changing their organizational structures.
Kendra Trost 
Retailing Center Student Assistant & Case Competition Mentor 

Being involved with the center as early as First Year student has set me up for success now as Junior in Retailing and Consumer Behavior.

Working as a teaching assistant for the Retail Symposium provides me with many leadership opportunities as a resource to my peers, and I'm able to interact with the many sponsors that visit the center. I am currently the National Retail Federation ambassador for the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I continue to connect students to the many opportunities presented by the NRF. 

My involvement with case competitions has been a crucial skill set at the Retail Center. Winning the Kohl's Case Competition as a Sophomore, placing in the top 10 for the NRF Student Challenge this year, and competing in the Fashion Scholarship Fund Case Competition has created an opportunity to mentor other students during their case competition endeavors. I'm excited to see fellow students' ideas for the case competitions coming this Spring! 
Internship Spotlights
We've highlighted a few of our students' exciting Summer 2016 retailing internship experiences.  Thank you to our partners and friends for providing these wonderful learning opportunities. 

Jory Brannan
Bachelor of Science in Retailing & Consumer Behavior

I worked at the Walgreens corporate office in the Chicago area as a merchandising intern. I have worked at the Walgreens on East Campus Mall for 3 years, so the chance to go on the corporate side of things, and understand more about how products and programs get to the store level excited me. I was placed on the beauty team under the Beauty Gifting desk, a new area for the company. In addition to my work projects, one of my favorite activities of the summer was doing a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Chicago with our mentors. Walgreens also has a huge support system where each intern gets an assigned mentor, but beyond that, the office has a very supportive environment that makes it easy to approach anyone with a question or for guidance. This atmosphere was a huge part in why I chose to accept the full-time offer that was extended to me at the end of the summer. I will be returning to Walgreens next summer to start in their Merchandising Analyst Rotational Program. I would highly encourage any junior looking for an internship to look into Walgreens, because of the fantastic internship program they offer and the amazing experience I personally had there!

Summer Stuart 
Bachelor of Science in Marketing 

 I interned at the  Hudson's Bay Company in New York City. I served as a Marketing intern focusing specifically on the  Saks Fifth Avenue , Lord and Taylor, and Hudson's Bay banners. The first half of my summer, I worked closely with the DVP of Media contributing to all aspects of promotional and branding campaigns including planning, implementat ion, optimization and analysis. The second half of my summer, I worked with the DVP of Partnerships to grow revenue and improve the company brand value by working with corporate partners to create a variety of business development programs. My internship at HBC was an extremely valuable learning experience that taught me a lot about the different aspects of a successful luxury retail marketing campaign. 
Ellie Schlangen 
Bachelor of Science in Retailing & Consumer Behavior 

I interned at the Kohl's Design Office in New York City. I was placed to work on their exclusive brand Rock & Republic as a Product Management Intern. There, I worked hands on with my team and assisted the designers in creating new product for the fall and winter lines. I was able to shadow various cross-functional teams with desire to understand how each piece of the puzzle comes together. I communicated daily with overseas and domestic vendors in tracking samples from production to in distribution centers.  This opportunity gave me the chance to work in the Fashion District of New York while developing closer relationships with designers, product developers, buyers, compliance and trend. Because of this experience, I am excited to take on a full time offer after graduation at the Kohl's Design Office in New York City as a Product Development Coordinator. I hope to positively impact the industry through understanding production, how to eliminate product waste and increase environmentally sustainable production.

To discover even more about student internship experiences at organizations like Macy's, Belk, Bridgestone, and Blain's Farm & Fleet please click here.
Experience China
Study Abroad 

Students Kristine Chapman, Ellie Schlangen, Sophie Auerswald, Emily Martin, and Kelsey Wilkerson spent the Spring 2015 semester studying retailing in China. Here's what they had to say about their experience.

During the spring of 2016, five of us from the University of Wisconsin-Madison traveled to Hangzhou , China to study abroad.  Our program was titled Experience China and was a partnership with Zhejiang International Studies University. Unlike the local students studying at Zhejiang International
 Studies University, we lived in the international, mixed-gender dorm. This dorm housed about 50 students fro m countries all over the world such as Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Angola, Congo and Georgia.

We were presented with a variety of courses to take during our program including Chinese culture, Wellness, Multicultural Literature, Mandarin Chinese, and a three week Product Development Strategies class with our very own Professor Nancy Murray.

Aside from classroom learning, we took various trips throughout our program.  A few of these field trips included visiting a tea plantation, an eco farm, and ancient villages.  Through the Wellness course, we all had the unique opportunity to  climb Mount Huangshan.  

Overall, Experience China was an outstanding program that allowed us to be immersed in and learn a great deal about Chinese culture and gain valuabl e insights about the retailing industry on a global scale.  Being thousands of miles from home forced us to grow as indiv iduals. Studying abroad in Hangzhou, China was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Learn more about the study abroad experience here.

MAGIC Tradeshow
August 14-17 | Las Vegas

Retailing & Consumer Behavior students had the unique experience of partaking in the behind-the-scenes business of buyers and vendors at the largest softlines group of tradeshows this summer.  Learn more about their travels here.

Retail's Digital Summit 
September 26-28 | Dallas

The Digital Summit, hosted by The National Retail Federation occurred in Dallas, TX this September. S tudents Eric Christianson, Catherine Finedore, Brett Geschke, Brianna Chin, Rita Roloff, with backgrounds in computer science and engineering attended as well at the Ray Greenly Scholarship partici pant Brian Lucksinger. They had the opportunity to listen to and network with many large digital innovators in the retail space. 

Retail's BIG Show 2017
January 11-15 | New York City

A group of 32 students will attend the National Retail Federation's annual tradeshow in New York City this winter.

The students will start the trip with visits to The Doneger Group Macy's corporate offices, Kohl's design office, and Trunk Club's New York Clubhouse . The corporate visits will be followed by  two busy days of student programming that  will include a keynote from the fashion designer, Rebecca Minkoff , and other panels of executives including Rachel Shechtman (Founder of STORY),   Heidi O'Neill   (President, Direct to Consumer at Nike), Karen Katz (President and CEO of the Neiman Marcus Group), and Jean Chatzky (Financial Editor, NBC Today). The event will include executive mentoring experiences and a career fair where students can be exposed to many new opportunities.  The trip will end with the students spending the day at the NRF's annual BIG Show where they will explore the newest innovations in the retail industry.

When the students are not busy with student programming, they will be able to take full advantage of all the Big Apple has to offer. Students can attend Broadway shows, shop, go to the Top of the Rock, ice skate at the Rockefeller ice rink, and enjoy some great food! 

We look forward to visiting with many of our partners and alumni in NYC!

NRF Next Generation Scholarship 
Rita Roloff

The University of Wisconsin-Madison nominated Rita Roloff for the National Retail Federation Foundation's Next Generation Scholarship program. Rita was one of 25 semi-fin alists and will for this prestigious scholarship & will attend the NRF Foundation's annual Gala in New York City this January. 

Rita is a sophomore studying Computer Science at UW. Her volunteer work i nvolving computer science is called "Textiles + TechStyles: Code, Entrep reneur ship and D esi g n" which will take place at the Goodman Center on Madison's East side. The curriculum for this project merges clothing design with multiple STEM disciplines. It was develope d by Pretty Brainy, an educational nonprofit founded by  another Badger, Heidi Olinger. 

Rita sees the Next Generation Scholarship as an opportunity to figure out what really mattered to her and the career she wanted to pursue. Her completion of t he scholarship included an essay on her career aspirations which are to use technology to cure diseases like Breast Cancer. Secondly, she created a digital timeline of wearable technology and wrote a second essay describing how this could be used in healthcare settings. 

NRF Student Challenge 
UW Madison's Team Places in Top 10
Every year the  National Retail Federation hosts a Business Case  Student Challenge for colle ge students from across the country interested in retail.

The prompt this year was to develop a theme for  STORY a  changing concept store located in New York City. The University of Wisconsin-Madison team was comprised of Juniors  Kendra T rost Breanna Blazei Krystal Jacobs  majoring in Retailing and Consumer Behavior and Junior  Brian Lucksinger  majoring in Marketing and Business Management.
The team developed their business case around the theme of travel and named their STORY Wanderlust. In ST(wanderlust)RY the team created a business plan in the form of a magazine, selected vendors, a marketing plan, financials, and metrics of success. The team's pitch video below evokes the feeling of travel and inspires others to utilize the vendors that would be located in store. The team wanted the consumer to be able to create their own customized travel experience whether that included a road trip or a flight to an extravagant location.
The Wanderlust STORY team created a mock website and social media posts  to tell the whole venture of their theme. After starting the competition with 64 participants and 28 first round contenders the team proudly made it to the top ten as semi-finalists. They are looking forward to watching the finalists present in New York City this coming January at the National Retail Federation Big Show!
ST[Wanderlust]RY Pitch Video
ST[Wanderlust]RY Pitch Video

NRF Rising Star 
Randi Armstrong

Randi Armstrong is a Sophomore Retailing & Consumer Behavior Major and UW-Madison's 2017 Rising Star Scholarship recipient to attend the National Retail Federation's BIG Show in January.

Career Aspirations:
My current interests are in Visual Merchandising, Personal Styling, Product Development: Branding, and Buying. The high fashion industry is very intriguing, and I hope to find a balance of living somewhere like NYC, Miami, or LA while still staying true to my passion. Most importantly whatever I end up doing I want to find a link between my career and giving back. This could be a fashion or product line that donates to a cause, or startup philanthropic organization. I am also very passionate about sustainability, so maybe combining high fashion with those values. 

Digital Storytelling 
UW's Partnership with Infegy Atlas

In the new age of BIG data, we are surrounded by millions of conversations going on around us every day. Retail students at UW-Madison are being trained to analyze these conversations and draw useful insights using Infegy's Atlas software tool.
UW-Madison is the only university in the country with this software at the fingertips of its students...and they are using it to gain insights into conversations about products from around the world. From writing a query comparing Pepsi in the United States to Pepsi in China, we can draw conclusions about marketing, advertising, and useful retail practices that may influence the brand and spec ific retail campaigns.
Atlas is also being used in
Students writing a query for JC Penney
case  competitions to give our students a competitive edge over other universities by understanding social platforms and what the consumer is interested in.
Classes like Global Consumer (see below) and Strategy and Evaluation are leveraging this tool to gain insights on brands and companies that are the focus of their research projects.
This fall, Infegy staff also came to campus to host a query-writing workshop and introduce their certification program where students can use the tool to earn badges for their LinkedIn profiles, setting them apart from other candidates in the industry and beyond!  We are very grateful for this partnership.

Infegy Canvas Analysis of Anthropologie Stores

The Global Consumer 
Spotlight on Retailing & Consumer Behavior Course

This course, led by Professor Nancy Murray, addresses key issues affecting international retailing with consideration of the global consumer's welfare.  Students in this course had some unique learning opportunities and developed skills that they will use in their future careers, including utilizing Infegy Atlas (featured above) to analyze global product and brand trends.  

Click HERE to learn more and view the students' work.

Women in Leadership Panel
October 19th, 2016

This semester, the Center for Retailing co-hosted the second annual School of Human Ecology Women in Leadership Panel.

We were pleased to host Krista Berry (panel moderator and Center for Retailing Alumni Executive in Residence), Annie Luchsinger (Co-founder of Meet Grace), Jody Heilbronner (Recently VP of Private Label at Macy's), Susan Lubar (First President, Morgan Stanley), and Danielle DiFerdinando (Founder & Creative Director of Danielle Nicole).  The women held a panel where they took student questions about career and leadership development as women in their respective industries, and then had the opportunity to sit with a table of students for a more personalized mentoring conversation.

Prior to the panel, the women learned about the Wisconsin Without Borders Microenterprise projects, interacted with UW's National Retail Federation Student Challenge case competition team and later attended a dinner hosted by SoHE's Dean Shim.

Retail Leadership Symposium

Fall Semester 2016


Thank you to the following companies for presenting in the Retail Leadership Symposium during the Fall 2016 semester. Your presence on campus and in the classroom benefit our program, and most importantly, our students and their futures in the retail industry! 





University Bookstore

Colony Brands 

Under Armour 

Danielle Nicole 



Milwaukee Tool 

Krista Berry 

Lands' End 



Thank you again to all the individuals and companies.

You are what makes our program great!


The students involved with the Student Retail Association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are at the forefront of industry, networking and engaging the local community.

From attending professional development events with Nordstrom Rack, Macy's, Kohl's, Jockey, and Land's End; attending social gatherings at the comedy club and Revel Craft Bar; or serving the community through participating in the Red TuTu Trot for Cardiac Arrest Awareness and establishing a toy drive for local children, Student Retail Association members are making a BIG IMPACT!
Students engaged at Trunk Club in Chicago, I

One highlight of the fall semester was the organization's trip to Chicago where they visited Crate & Barrels' headquarters as w ell as Walgreen's Flagship and Trunk Club. Utilizing this opportunity, SRA members learned more about retail operations and customer service standards at major national retailers.

The Student Retail Association has grown this past semester with strong efforts to recruit incoming Freshman and Sophomore students. With a strong focus on marketing and the launch of the Instagram platform SRA has reported higher retention and attendance numbers of its members. SRA plans to continue providing students opportunities to grow and develop in the retail industry.

Check out two of SRA's newest projects: 

UW-Madison Retail Learning Lab & Store
The Student Retail Association is working closely with Professor Dee Warmath to operate the UW- Madison Retail Learning Lab & Store at the Robin's Nest Cafe on the 2nd floor of Nancy Nichola s Hall.  The Retail Lab's multidisciplinary team, consisting of students from first year through senior students is hard at work buying and planning merchandise from local artisan vendors for the store, ensu ring visual merchandising creativity and standards, and promoting the artisans through a storytelling experience.  

Meet the Team!
* Chief Merchandising Officer buying/planning: 
Whitney Wnuk
* Chief Merchandising Officer visual merchandising: 
Lexi Van Camp
* Marketing Director: Sophia Minter
* Assistant buyer/planner: Shelby Orcutt

Overall, this is a win-win situation for both the store and the Student Retail Association. It allows members of SRA to gain real life retail experience- a great talking point in i nterviews!  T he team hopes to bring more recognition to the store through new collaborations and events,  vendors and products, and visuals. 

Danielle Nicole Handbag Collaboration: DNxWisco
Designer Danielle DiFerdinando
A g r oup  of students in the Student Retail Association are partnering with  Danielle DiFerdinando on a unique and exciting project. At age 18, DiFerdinando started her own handbag company called
Danielle Nicole Handbags.  Her success as a d esigner and businesswoman has led her to be recognized by Forbes magazine o n the publication's prestigious "30 Under 30 " list in 2015. Aside 
Danielle DiFerdinando and UW-Madison Students
from her professional success, Danielle is also known for giving back  and  helping others.  Danielle's passion for design and desire to help others created the perfect opportunity to pair with UW-Madison's Student Retail Association.

Ten students are working closely with Danielle to help design, license, and sell a line of UW-Madison themed Danielle Nicole Handbags. This handbag line will consist of purses, wallets, backpacks and other accessories that represent the University and promote school s pirit. A portion of the proceeds generated by this student-led project will be given to the Student Retail  Association to fund their yearly trip to New York. This trip is for  students interested in attending the Natio nal Retail Federation c onference and provides opportunities to network with prospective employers within the retail industry. The handbags are targeted to launch in August of 2017. 
Big Apple Badger
Stacy Igel, Founder of Boy Meets Girl

New York-based fashion designer S tacy Igel, founder and creative director of the Boy Meets Girl clothing line, has made it big in a business that's always changing. Igel found her niche in UW-Madison's School of Human Ecology and Wisconsin School of Business.

Big Apple Badger, Stacy Igel & Boy Meets Girl
Big Apple Badger, Stacy Igel & Boy Meets Girl

Attention '06-'16 Graduates
Your Donation Can Make a BIG Impact

Give a gift to SoHE's annual fund by Dec. 31 and your donation will be doubled! 

Cathy Atkins '79, a SoHE alumna and a member of SoHE's board of visitors , has offered to match every dollar given to the school by SoHE alumni who graduated between 2006 and 2016.

There is a catch! You must make your gift before December 31! If you give $25, your donation has a $50 impact.
Your gift will provide support for student scholarships and experiential learning opportunities like those that the Center for Retailing sponsors. Gifts also fund important academic initiatives such as internships and travel that prepare students to succeed in their lives and careers.
To learn more and donate, please click here.
Advice from an Alum
An Interview with Alumni John Whiting
Assortment Planner, EXPRESS 

John Whiting is a 2010 graduate of the Retailing program. In this interview, John provides advice for current students pursuing careers in the retail industry. 

What skills did you learn in college that you use in your career now?

Networking and critical thinking.  The retail program and the clubs (such as Student Retail Association) I was involved in did a really great job of helping me build a network of other students, recruiters, alumni, and professionals which is an awesome thing to be able to lean on when looking for your next career move. Critical thinking is really at the heart of every role.  Trying to come up with a conclusion with very little information is a big part of my every day job.  A lot of the coursework is designed to help you develop those skills before you get into the big and scary real world.

What did you learn from your first job?

My first job out of college was with Kohl's Department Stores in the Merchandise Analyst Trainee Program where I learned 3 really important things.  I learned that you can't just let your work speak for yourself and to not be afraid to speak up if you have something to say. There is never a down time in Retail, you can always be digging into the business and learning what your customer is telling you they want.  Lastly, I learned how important excel is.  Of the 4 companies I have worked for since college (Kohl's Roundy's, Victoria's Secret Pink, and EXPRESS), excel has made up about 50-75% of my role.  The more proficient you are, the better off you will be!

If you could give advice to your college self what would you say?
  • Create as many connections as possible and never burn any bridges; you will learn how small the industry you work in really is.  LinkedIn is one of the most important tools you can use to keep your connections and pursue other opportunities, all of my career moves have happened through here.  If you have an account, clean it up, its just as important as your resume.  If you don't, create one.
  • Use performance reviews as a report card and touch bases to get feedback from your manager.  If your manager is telling you what your strengths and opportunities are, take that to heart.  
  • Lastly, an internship is as much of an interview for them as it is for you.  Ask questions and schedule touch bases with people in other areas of the business.  Is this company, industry, role, and city a fit for you?
Where can you see yourself in the next couple years and where do you see the retail industry ?  

I see myself as a Merchandise Planner.  Having been on both the merchandising and planning sides, I really enjoy the numbers side of retail. Digging into the sales to find those little nuggets that can really push the business forward excites me.  I see retail moving more online.  Amazon has really set the bar for the industry as a whole. Creating a truly omni-channel experience for the customer is crucial because they see your stores and the website as one brand and not as two different entities.

Thanks for the advice and insights, John!

Badger Bridge 
Connect with Fellow Alumni & Mentor Students

Badger Bridge is  the new professional network platform that allows alumni to connect to other alumni in their cities and across the globe, and students to connect with alumni mentors in their desired industries. Join today to  access thousands of fellow Badger profiles to network, ask for career advice and offer your help to current students! 



Kohl's Center for Retailing