Seunga Venus “Annie” Jin, assistant professor in Marketing Communication, has been named the 2015 recipient of Emerson’s Norman and Irma Mann Stearns Distinguished Faculty Award.
Jin will use the $3,000 stipend toward a research project that examines how social media and digital platforms contribute to the growing “medical-beauty tourism industry,” which is the increasing trend of people traveling to different countries to receive cosmetic medical procedures.
The project is officially titled “Leveraging Crowd-Sourced Social Travel Review Sites, O2O (Online to Offline) Social Commerce Platforms, and Mobile Apps for Medical/Beauty Tourism Targeting Global Consumers.”
In her proposal for the award, Jin said medical-beauty tourism in Korea totaled $349 million in 2014 “in light of the Korean Wave and rising popularity of K-Pop culture,” according to Emerson’s Office of Research and Creative Scholarship.
Jin’s research will specifically look at the rising trend in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese markets.
“Along with the boom in Korea’s cosmetic industry, the growth of medical-beauty tourism is predicated to be exponential, reaching 1 million inbound travelers per year by 2020,” Jin wrote in her proposal. “Despite this growing consumer demand and market potential, there is a dearth of theory-driven empirical research on the impact of Web 2.0 and crowd-sourced review platforms on global consumers’ evaluation of and experience with medical-beauty tourism. This proposed research aims to address this gap.”
In addition to traveling to Southeast Asia to conduct some of her research, Jin intends to publish her findings in high-impact journals in the fields of communications, health, and marketing.
The Norman and Irma Mann Stearns Award was established in 1993 thanks to a generous endowment from Dr. Norman Stearns and his wife, Irma Mann Stearns. The award is presented annually to a full-time faculty member in recognition of outstanding scholarly or creative achievement. The award funds are used to enhance an ongoing project or develop a new scholarly or creative endeavor. Travel is strongly encouraged as part of the project.