By Debbie Willmschen

Wenna Han, recipient of the 2021-2022 Provost’s Fellowship, is pleased to continue her journey at the Wilson College of Textiles as a doctoral student with the textile technology management (TTM) program. After receiving her Master of Science in Textiles from NC State in May 2021, Han is looking forward to working with her advisor, Professor Yingjiao Xu, again as she explores consumer behavior as it relates to the fashion industry.

Prior to joining Wilson College as a masters student, Han received a Bachelor of Science in Textile Engineering with a minor in public relations at Donghua University in her home country of China.

Han shared more about her research plans and how the Provost’s Fellowship will provide support during the first year of her doctoral studies.

Wilson College: What led you to select Wilson College for your doctoral work?

Han: During the years when I pursued my master’s degree at Wilson College, the rich resources and friendly dynamic here were really enjoyable for me. Most importantly, I found my research interest is perfectly matched with the TTM Ph.D. program. I am also excited to continue working with my advisor, Dr. Xu. I could not achieve my current successes without her excellent instruction.

Wilson College: Talk a little about your research and how you first became interested in this area of study.

Han: During my undergraduate journey when I majored in textile design, I discovered that product design is not only about aestheticism but is also led by market demand and consumer preference. Inspired by my courses in public relations, I realized the key importance of two-way communication between the consumer and product development. Since then, I became more interested in consumer studies to get feedback from consumers and give implications to the industry to improve market offerings. For my master’s thesis, I investigated consumer responses towards Smart Closet, an innovative technology in the fashion industry, which drew me more specifically toward an interest in consumer behavior. My future research will encompass strategic design, marketing and management of innovative retail as well as product practices in the fashion industry. 

Wilson College: How will the Provost’s Fellowship provide support during this journey?

Han: With the Provost’s Fellowship, I can focus on my research and study without financial concern. Also, this honor encourages me to dedicate my effort to my doctoral work.

Wilson College: What advice would you give to other incoming doctoral students for ways to seek support or become involved in programs here at Wilson College?

Han: First, I would advise incoming students to read the related financial support information on the Wilson College website. The college includes many categories of support and programs, so just go for it, get the required materials well-prepared and apply for any eligible ones. Also, contact your advisor or the director of doctoral graduate programs for all possible opportunities. Do every step proactively, and don’t miss any deadlines! It’s easier than you think when you start to take action.

Wilson College: As you begin this journey, do you have any expectations or hopes for your long term career goals?

Han: As a doctoral student, I want to strengthen my professional background, enhance the core skills required for an entry level academic position and enrich my experience in teaching and communication. I want to be a capable researcher and professor when I graduate with my Ph.D. degree. My ultimate goal is to become a professor at a university so that I can share my research expertise with students and other scholars.