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Penn State Smeal Ph.D. students sweep awards at Haring Symposium

May 4, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two Smeal marketing Ph.D. students swept top honors recently at the Albert Haring Symposium for Doctoral Research in Marketing, hosted by the Indiana Kelley School of Business. 

Felix Xu was named Best Presenter, while Ben Beck shared Best Discussant honors with Qihui Chen, a University of Maryland student who is auditing a Smeal Ph.D. seminar in advanced consumer behavior taught by Lisa Bolton, professor of marketing and Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow. 

Xu presented on a paper titled “Consumer Aversion Toward Company Waste: An Environmental Harm-Based Moral Perspective.” 

“I was really pleased at how the students did. I was present for each of their presentations and impressed at their professionalism and the insightfulness of their discussion,” Bolton said. 

Fourteen universities (12 Big Ten schools plus Columbia and the University of Chicago) were represented by pairs of students in presenter and discussant roles. Bolton was Smeal’s faculty representative at this year’s symposium, billed as the Haring Cyber Symposium since it used an online format for only the second time in its 50-plus-year history. 

Attending faculty anonymously selected who should be considered for the awards. 

Duncan Fong, the Ph.D. coordinator for the Department of Marketing, said Xu and Beck followed in the footsteps of previous marketing Ph.D. students. 

“I’m glad that Felix received the Best Presenter Award and Ben received the Best Discussant Award at the Haring Symposium. This is a reflection of the high quality of our students. Many of them have won such or similar competitive awards during their time in the Ph.D. program,” he said. 

“Indeed, all of our recent graduates were placed as tenure track assistant professors immediately upon their graduation from our program.”

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