New Faculty Focus: Melissa Bublitz
Melissa Bublitz: Liz Kramer Professor of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Department of Consumer Science, Department of Civil Society and Community Studies, School of Human Ecology
Hometown: Bowler, Wisconisn
I worked in business-to-business marketing research for 12 years before getting my MBA and PhD in management science (marketing and psychology) from UW–Milwaukee. I was marketing faculty at UW–Oshkosh for last 12 years.
What is your field of research, and how did you get into it?
I often investigate how people and organizations within a community work collaboratively to tackle the pressing problems of this world such as hunger and food access. I’m really interested in communities developing solutions at a local level and how to leverage the talent, knowledge and skills of local leaders to build a better community for all.
What attracted you to UW–Madison?
I’m excited about opportunities to do more research and to work within the School of Human Ecology where I see researchers working on the topic of well-being from a variety of different disciplines and points of view.
What was your first visit to campus like?
Exciting, there was an energy on campus emerging from the people and the ideas they were interested in discussing. I’m excited to become part of this campus community.
The pandemic forced us all to reconsider many things we took for granted. Is there something you’ve learned that has helped you through these challenging times, personally or professionally?
Make time for the people and passions you care most about in life.
Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how.
YES – in my research I often collaborate with community organizations. They have embedded knowledge that benefits the research we create but they also have the opportunity and connections to put ideas that emerge from the research into action in the communities where we live and work. We create research together and learn from each other.
What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties?
We are creatures of habit, and in no place is that more visible than in our food decisions. It is estimated that people make more than 200 food-related decisions each day – everything from what to eat, how much, when, when not to eat even when we are tempted by the sight or smell of food. When we become cognitively depleted, stressed or emotionally burdened, we often seek refuge in habits to minimize the amount “thinking” we have to do. That is why our comfort food favorites often bring us back to familiar family food experiences.
Hobbies/other interests: Biking, hiking, cooking, paddling, camping — basically anything that gets me and my family outdoors.