Introducing Abigail (Abby) Miller

By: Kathy Kelley

One of the rewarding aspects of being a faculty member is mentoring young, energetic students and observing them develop interest in their research and helping them explore career paths. Currently, I have the pleasure of advising Abigail Miller, a Master’s student at Penn State, who is specializing in wine marketing research.

Abigail Miller, graduate research assistant in the Department of Plant Science, Penn State

Abigail Miller, graduate research assistant in the Department of Plant Science, Penn State

With a Bachelor’s degree in AgriBusiness and Telecommunications, Abigail is now using Internet surveys to investigate Mid-Atlantic consumers’ (those residing in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey) wine preference and purchasing behaviors, use of social media tools to connect with winery tasting rooms and brands, and attitudes towards wine produced in the three states. Over the next several months, blog postings describing some of the research will be published on this site. Funding for the project “Developing Wine Marketing Strategies for the Mid-Atlantic Region” (GRANT 11091317) was provided by a USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant.

While Abigail’s main interests lie in understanding marketing and social media strategies appropriate for independent wineries, she also enjoys learning about the production and wine making side of the business. Her ultimate goal is to become knowledgeable in all areas of running a winery.

She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Here Abigail is making wine under the direction of Denise Gardner.

She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Here Abigail is making wine under the direction of Denise Gardner.

Before she began her graduate studies, Abigail interned at Seven Mountains Wine Cellars (Spring Mills, PA) during which she was able to be involved in marketing, production, bottling, and pouring samples in the tasting room. Currently she is the Social Media Coordinator at Big Spring Spirits (Bellefonte, PA) where she is providing guidance to the new distillery about social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram.

Abigail is a member of the Penn State Food Science wine sensory panel.

Abigail is a member of the Penn State Food Science wine sensory panel.

As for her future career aspirations, which she’ll pursue after graduating in summer or fall 2015, she would like to work at a distributing company (Constellation, Treasury, etc.). Or, you might want to employ her as a marketing specialist at your winery and have her develop your social media presence and oversee your brand’s marketing strategy.

So, check back in a couple of weeks when we will begin publishing outcomes of the Abigail’s surveys.

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