WASHINGTON, DC—May 15, 2019—The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) is pleased to announce its 2020 Sales Doctoral Student Grant Program recipients. Molly Ahearne from the University of Georgia and Scott Hachey from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa were each awarded grants that will help Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited doctoral granting institutions build, recruit and retain the next generation of aspiring sales-focused faculty and scholars. Molly is working with Dr. John Hulland and Scott is working with Dr. Nathan Hartmann.

“All of us at DSEF congratulate Molly and Scott,” DSEF Executive Director Gary Huggins said. “We recognize the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on sales programs across the country and the disruption on education broadly. We are pleased to award doctoral sales grants for a second year running.”

Dr. Fernando Jaramillo, (Chair, Marketing Department, Professor and Associate Dean for Students and Programs, University of Texas at Arlington) and Dr. Greg W. Marshall, (Charles Harwood Professor of Marketing and Strategy, Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College) administered the grant program, along with Huggins and DSEF Senior Director of Academic Initiatives, Kimberly Harris Bliton.

“Now more than ever, funding for innovative new research on best practices for direct selling is of the utmost importance,” said Marshall. “The DSEF Sales Grant program recognizes and rewards the best of the best of next generation sales scholars whose work can positively impact direct selling practices well into the future.”

The grant recipients were selected from a pool of applicants who submitted proposals relevant to the direct selling channel, DSEF and Direct Selling Association (DSA) member companies. Over a four-year period, the recipients will receive $4,000 to develop and execute a research project focusing on a topic of relevance for DSEF and DSA member companies.

DSEF’s 2019 Doctoral Sales Grant recipients Carissa Harris, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Jen Riley, Kennesaw State University, will receive grant disbursements from 2020 through 2022.


For more than 40 years, DSEF has partnered with members of the academic community to support research and education programs. These programs expand the knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of direct selling. The Foundation works with 240 professors in a variety of disciplines—including sales, marketing, management, economics, ethics and entrepreneurship—to develop direct selling-related academic research, case studies and teaching content. In 2018, retail sales from direct selling were more than $34 billion annually and currently there are 6.2 million direct sellers building full-time or part-time businesses in the United States.