Undergraduate honored for marketing research
During the 2016 Weekend of Excellence, marketing and economics student Austin Tolentino received Loyola's Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award.
Stacy Neier Beran, senior lecturer, described her experience working with Tolentino as “second to none” and stressed Tolentino’s impressive “curiosity and grit” as a researcher.
“Austin impresses me on a daily basis,” she said. “His acumen and intellect influence my activities to be more purposeful and disciplined in my own teaching and research.”
Professors Anne Reilly and Linda Tuncay Zayer also recommended him for the distinction.
In his own words, Tolentino describes his time spent at Quinlan:
What is your research focus?
My research is focused on marketing and sociology. Originally, I was an economics student, but after taking Dr. Neier Beran’s introduction to marketing class, I added marketing to my major because both the micro- and macro-intersections of consumer behavior were really interesting to me.
I came to Loyola with an appetite for storytelling, and Dr. Neier Beran — as well as other Loyola professors and marketing academics at last year’s Macromarketing Conference — opened my eyes to the sort of powerful stories that can be told through research.
This summer, I’ll be participating in the Research Mentoring Program at Loyola, assisting a PhD candidate in his study on community organizing in Chicago. From that, my goal is to not only refine my research skills but also learn what I can about civic engagement to build off my research in next year’s Social Innovation/Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship, which will be focused on the relation between social discourse and civic entrepreneurship.
What research did you present at the Weekend of Excellence?
My research for the Social Innovation/Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship sought to explore new opportunities and obstacles for online engagement between artists and audiences. The purpose was to validate whether a connected business model could integrate the goals of public art. Instead of products leading a culture of consumers, I wanted to know how culture could lead the development of products. I specifically focused on how such engagements leveraged trends in collaborative consumption, from crowdsourcing to crowdfunding.
What are some of your accomplishments at Loyola?
Outside of Loyola, I also participated in the Campus 1871 Startup Competition last year, where I helped a seed-stage startup team develop a marketing strategy. In the following summer, I participated with the same team in the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Urban Sustainability Apps Competition to help refine the pitch presentation, and we won first place.
What’s your favorite Loyola memory?
In a single moment, my favorite Loyola memory is having witnessed the epic dunk made by Montel James in the first game of the CBI championship series against Louisiana-Monroe last year. Loyola would go on to win the championship.
How has your time here helped shape you as a person?
Exciting as that moment was, it pales in comparison to the summation of my Loyola experience so far. I cannot be thankful enough for the Loyola community, including the friends, professors, and mentors who have all shaped me as a person. Without them, I wouldn’t have learned to be intentional in the activities I engage in so that I can better serve humanity. To me, the lessons from those experiences are personal accomplishments I take more pride in than the competitions above.
What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
Ten years from now, I hope to be contributing to research on economic development, whether at a university or business. Especially given today’s circumstances, or even that of this century, I hope to be a part of the story (or stories) that reduce inequality and uphold social justice.