UT Professor Wei-Na Lee Stands Out and Wins AAA Research Award

The University of Texas' very own Professor Lee won the Ivan L. Preston Outstanding Contribution to Research Award, and shares why she loves research


UT Professor Wei-Na Lee and AAA logo

University of Texas at Austin professor Wei-Na Lee is the 2017 recipient of the AAA’s Ivan L. Preston Outstanding Contribution to Research Award, an award that honors individuals who have made sustained and systematic contributions to advertising research. While this award is a great accomplishment, it has an extra sentimental value to professor Lee; Ivan L. Preston was her teacher in graduate school and the one who suggested she pursue advertising.

“In a way, you can say that Ivan started me on this journey,” said Professor Lee in her AAA research feature. “And this is why receiving the Outstanding Contribution to Advertising Research Award in Ivan’s name means so much to me.”

Lee has long been involved with AAA. From attending her first conference in 1990 to being elected Vice President in 2010, she has always held the Academy in high regard. “Having a community where one can find mentors, partners in research and people who are simply your enthusiastic cheerleaders makes the journey fun,” said Lee. “I believe it is important to find our academic resonance because it makes everything we do worthwhile.”

Professor Lee’s research has primarily focused on the role of culture in persuasive communication, and she authored over 100 published works on this and related subjects. For Professor Lee, however, it is not all about the publishing, but satisfying an intellectual curiosity. She specifically recalls a time when she was watching an interview with Akio Morita, a co-founder of Sony, and him discussing the importance of curiosity. “In his business, curiosity means creativity. In our sphere, curiosity leads to discovery. We do research because we have this need to know.”

Lee’s curiosity has led her to become an established and accomplished researcher. She has had her work supported by more than 20 research grants, is a three-time recipient of the AAA Research Fellowship Award, is a former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Advertising and was Executive Director of the Office of Survey Research at UT-Austin. Even with all of her accomplishments, she still never loses sight of what she sees as truly important – giving back.

“Giving back is also an important part of research and can take on many forms. We can make ourselves available to hear research ideas and give suggestions. We can provide constructive and timely comments in a paper review. We can become mentors. Or, we can simply be good role models on how to build a research program…The list goes on. I believe giving back keeps us fresh and grows the field.”

To learn more about Lee, read her AAA Research Feature here.

Jennifer Furlong
Original Content Team Contributor