Apparel Merchandising Senior Receives 2022 President’s and Samford-Cannon Foundation Award

Graham Brooks | Communications Editor

Auburn University College of Human Sciences Apparel Merchandising senior Tatum Reece Snelling was recently named the 2022 President’s and Samford-Cannon Foundation Award Winner for exhibiting a variety of outstanding skills and qualities during her time at Auburn.

Snelling, who also minored in business with an emphasis in communications, represented the College of Human Sciences as one student per college is chosen each year for the President’s and Samford-Cannon Foundation Award. The students chosen for the award display outstanding qualities of leadership, citizenship, character and promise of professional ability.

“Being able to go to the awards ceremony and being around each presidential award winner from each college was really inspiring and humbling just to hear what all they have accomplished in their four years,” Snelling said. “I was very excited, especially because my professors here had sent me the nomination letter that they had written and submitted. To read that and reflect on the past four years here at Auburn it really came full circle for me.”

Apparel merchandising has always been a passion for Snelling and she knew before starting her journey at Auburn that it’s the career path she wanted to take. Snelling chose Auburn because of the national recognition Auburn’s Consumer and Design Sciences receives and the solid reputation of the Apparel Merchandising program and professors.

“The professors along the way, especially Dr. Sadachar and Dr. Burnsed within the program have really been great mentors,” Snelling said. “The faculty are really hands-on. I made sure to reach out and thank all of them when I won the award because they had such an instrumental impact on my journey.”

Susan Hubbard, Dean of the College of Human Sciences, reflected on Snelling’s many positive qualities after presenting her with the 2022 President’s and Samford-Cannon Foundation Award.

“Tatum has an innate talent and natural eye for apparel merchandising,” Hubbard said. “She was selected as the National Retail Federation Rising Star Scholarship student conference recipient and was named a semifinalist for the National Retail Foundation Next Generation scholarship. She has also been heavily involved in research initiatives and published her first white paper, ‘Quantifying Customer Experience,’ with the Auburn RFID lab, where she works as a customer experience analyst on the DART team.”

In addition to the skills she’s obtained in the classroom, Snelling said one of her favorite memories at Auburn was traveling to Barcelona, Spain in 2019 to study abroad as part of the Auburn core curriculum program.

Following graduation, Snelling will represent the first ever Auburn student to be accepted into a rotational management program with Gap, Inc., in New York City.

“Back in October I went through the interview process with Gap, Inc., which is a conglomerate that owns Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and Old Navy and starting July 11 I will be moving to New York City beginning my role there in their rotational management program as a trainee,” Snelling said. “The rotational management program alternates between merchandising and inventory analyst roles and once I graduate from that program in April I will automatically be placed into a full-time role there.”

Snelling’s love for the apparel industry began while working her first job at a local boutique at the age of 16. Since that time, she has worked in the industry in some capacity and loves the flexibility a career in apparel merchandising can offer.

“Why I really started to pursue it is because merchandising in particular has this great balance of creativity and analytical thinking and I kind of saw that as a direct representation of how my brain kind of works,” Snelling said. “But my favorite thing about the industry as a whole is just how fast paced and diverse it is. You really have to be nimble and agile with your thinking and I think it presents a lot of growth opportunities.”

For more information on the College of Human Sciences Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production Management program, visit