Direct Selling Education Foundation Awards
Doctoral Sales Grants

Carissa Harris, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Jen Riley, Kennesaw State University Named Grant Recipients

WASHINGTON, DC—May 15, 2019The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) is pleased to announce its 2019 Doctoral Sales Grant Program recipients. Carissa Harris from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jen Riley from Kennesaw State University 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. Clarissa is working with Dr. Ravi Sohi and Dr. Blake Runnalls, and Jen is working with Dr. Brian Rutherford.

“All of us at DSEF congratulate Clarissa and Jen,” Gary Huggins, DSEF Executive Director, said. “The Foundation’s Sales Doctoral Student Grants Program not only provides recipients with a valuable research or dissertation opportunity, it recognizes the integral role that sales excellence plays in the ongoing success of the direct selling channel.”

Dr. Fernando Jaramillo, (Associate Dean for Students and Programs, Associate Professor of Marketing, 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 two members of the DSEF leadership team.

“The number and quality of the submissions on this initial round of the grant program really speaks to the robust nature of sales academic community,” said Marshall. “Fernando and I want to thank DSEF for providing this opportunity for these two doctoral students’ research projects to receive funding, and we’re excited about the potential for their work to enhance the field of direct selling.”

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 or one or more DSA member companies.



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 more than 200 professors in a variety of disciplines—such as entrepreneurship, marketing, ethics, sales, consumer studies, business and economics—to develop direct selling-related academic research, case studies and teaching content. In 2017, retail sales from direct selling were more than $34 billion annually and currently there are more than more than 18 million people involved in direct selling in the United States.