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Meet Professor Jill Sundie Sundie teaches marketing courses at W&L, including Marketing Management.

sundie-321x350 Meet Professor Jill SundieJill Sundie

1. What attracted you to Washington and Lee University?

My academic interests have always been interdisciplinary in nature. I appreciated the uniqueness of W&L’s integration of liberal arts and business in the undergraduate curriculum and felt it matched what I have always considered most interesting in my own teaching and research. During my visit here, the faculty and students seemed very kind, engaged and motivated to create and sustain a healthy and respectful educational environment that fosters personal and professional growth. I wanted to be a part of that environment.

2. What are you teaching at W&L?

I am teaching marketing courses, including Marketing Management. I am also excited to participate in our department’s planned curriculum review and revision process and see what new teaching opportunities emerge from that process.

3. What are your research interests? How did these develop?

That is a difficult question to provide a brief answer to! When studying economics in my master’s program, I took a course that covered what, at the time, was new research leveraging biological theory to gain insight into human marketplace behavior and choices. That sparked my interest in psychological research, and I eventually pursued my doctorate in social psychology in a department where faculty were actively doing research from an evolutionary biological perspective. While in my doctoral program, I became interested in understanding how that biological perspective can help to illuminate consumer behaviors and choices. This led me to pursue a business school career that has involved teaching various marketing courses and conducting research on consumer motivation and behavior, social influence and the effects of consumption practices on relationships. Most, but not all, of that work leverages the biological perspective in some way.

4. Besides your work, what’s something that you’re passionate about?

My family. I have a husband who is also an academic, and in addition to collaborating as a couple in our family life, we collaborate on various research projects. He is also a psychologist by training, and we share many research interests. We have two wonderful daughters. One is a recent college graduate who is just starting her “adult life” in Houston, and one is a brand-new fifth-grader who makes me laugh and smile every day.

5. What’s on your must-read list?

There are a set of authors who have written some great popular press books and who have all influenced my work in some way. Among these are David Buss, Robert Cialdini, Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Geoffrey Miller, Steven Pinker and my friend and former mentor Douglas Kenrick.

6. What is the hardest lesson you had to learn as a student?

To figure out how to follow my passions and to pave my own path academically. Also, the importance of fostering relationships with potential mentors and continuing to invest in those relationships over time.