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5 Questions with Faculty: Hillary Weiner

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 18, 2017) — Hillary Wiener is an assistant professor of Marketing in the School of Business who received her Ph.D. last spring from Duke University. Her research focuses on the link between consumption behavior and the social connections between people, and the role of conversation and gift-giving in forming relationships. This is her first year at UAlbany.

What are you working on now?
Hilary Wiener
Hillary Wiener

I am currently most excited about my work on conversation pieces, or products that reveal something about the wearer’s interests or experiences — for example, a UAlbany t-shirt. I am finding that people are more likely to talk to strangers who are wearing conversation pieces than those who are not and that when they start a conversation by asking someone about their conversation piece, it generally leads to a better conversation than does starting the conversation in another way.

What made you decide to pursue your field?

I took the final for a social psychology class in college and one of the essay questions was about how to get students to sign up for a blood drive (which is fundamentally a marketing question). I had a great time developing a marketing plan in response to the question, and I figured if I actually enjoyed taking a final exam on a subject, it might be a good field for me.

If you weren’t teaching at a university, what would you be doing?

As the child of two professors, I was probably doomed to end up at a university, but I also considered being a clinical psychologist.

What was the last book you read for pleasure?

I have been re-reading the Lord of the Rings series this summer. It had been long enough since I last read them that I was surprised by some of the plot developments.

What’s your favorite food, to eat or cook, and why?

I love cooking and particularly enjoy deep frying things — you can’t multi-task while frying so it is very soothing and you get something crispy and delicious when you are done!

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