The Women Grocers of America (WGA) has named the recipients of the 2015 Mary Macey Scholarship: Lauren Eccleston, a senior at Saint Joseph’s University; Lakin Kessler, a sophomore at Bismarck State College; Vanessa Marrero of Wakefern Food Corp.; and April Rice of Associated Food Stores Inc. The 2015 recipients will receive a $1,500 scholarship to further their education and careers in the food retail industry.
“The WGA Board of Directors was pleased to have received over 40 applications from a very impressive pool of candidates for this year’s Mary Macey Scholarship,” said Kathy Sweidel-Caton, president of WGA. “While there were a number of highly qualified candidates, the selected recipients stood out for their commitment and hard work in pursing a career in the independent supermarket industry. On behalf of all WGA members, congratulations to the four outstanding recipients and we offer best wishes for a productive and successful academic year.”
Eccleston is a senior at Saint Joseph’s University where she is pursuing a degree in food marketing with a communications minor. As president of her school’s Food Marketing Association, Eccleston has had wonderful opportunities inside and outside the classroom. She visited the NGA Show in 2015 and has shown remarkable interest in the grocery industry. Her internships with Clemens Food Group and the Kellogg Co. have provided her with invaluable experience that she hopes to expand on as she enters the industry upon graduation.
Kessler is a sophomore at Bismarck State College, planning to major in business management and nutrition. Growing up she spent a lot of time at the grocery store, helping her family who bought the store from her grandparents. Pursuing a career in the grocery industry is an important personal goal but also means she will be the third generation in her family in the grocery business.
Marrero has been in the grocery industry for six years as an employee for Wakefern Food Corp. She currently is a financial analyst, her fourth role within the company. Marrero is a Rutgers Business School alumna where she received her bachelor’s degree in accounting. She now is pursing her MBA with an accounting concentration from Keller Graduate School. Marrero resides in central New Jersey.
Rice has a passion for the independent retailer. She has 29 years of retail experience and has worked for Associated Food Stores of Salt Lake City, Utah, for the past 12 years. Her current position is director of retail sales.
Aligned with its mission to recruit and retain the next generation of successful people in the independent supermarket industry, with an emphasis on young women, WGA distributes Mary Macey Scholarship awards yearly to promising college students pursuing careers in the independent grocery industry. The Mary Macey Scholarship was created to honor WGA’s first president, Mary Macey.