Kristen Schiele, the 2022 Fulbright Scholar in Communication and Media Studies / Polytechnic of Lisbon shares with us her experience in Portugal so far…

My name is Kristen Schiele, and I am the 2022/2023 Fulbright Scholar in Communication & Media Studies at Politécnico de Lisboa. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience here in Portugal, and grateful for the opportunity to work with faculty and students who inspire me.

I am currently collaborating on a few research projects with other professors at the university. One study, that I am very excited about, focuses on the acceptance of social media influencers in different countries. We are currently examining source credibility through the lens of Hofsteade’s cultural dimensions, and it has been fascinating to see the differences between various countries, specifically the US and Portugal. Working with faculty from a different culture has opened my eyes to a new perspective and has helped me to grow as a scholar.

I also have enjoyed teaching in the Public Relations and Marketing programs. The students have been fantastic, and we’ve had some wonderful discussions on how to apply the concepts from my lectures to their final class projects. I think what has truly stood out to me, is how these students demonstrate a strong sense of empathy as they develop their recommendations for companies. Many hold a strong belief that businesses should do more for their employees, communities, and environment, and this is shown in their coursework.

One story that I wanted to share happened during my first week at the university. I was giving a lecture on how to communicate brand voice on social media and gave the students an activity to apply these concepts for one of their favorite companies. One team chose the brand Compal, a Portuguese juice company, and I told them that I had never had their products but would look for them the next time I was at the store. We took a short break, and those students came back to the classroom with a Compal juice for me! They had bought it at the snack bar because they wanted me to have a chance to try it. The juice was really delicious, but the sweetest part was the students’ thoughtfulness.

During my time in Lisbon, I have experienced many instances like this, and now believe that compassion and kindness must be part of the Portuguese culture. I am grateful to Fulbright for this amazing opportunity to teach and conduct research in this beautiful country. The experience has helped me to develop, not just as an academic, but as a human being. When I return home to University of Southern California, I look forward to sharing all that I have learned with my students.

Dr. Kristen Schiele, Associate Professor of Clinical Marketing, University of Southern California:

Kristen Schiele specializes in the areas of digital marketing and social media and serves on the Board of Directors for the Marketing Educators’ Association. Her primary areas of research include design thinking, digital marketing, and innovations in marketing education, and she received the Fulbright Scholar Award to teach and conduct research in Portugal. Dr. Schiele is co-author of the Mobile Marketing Essentials textbook, and frequently speaks on current and emerging trends in user experience and human-centered design.