Named a 2022 Women in Sports Technology (WiST) Fellow, Megan Whittaker, ’22, a finance major from Elkhorn, Nebraska, became the first University of Nebraska–Lincoln student to receive the prestigious honor. A former Husker golfer, her fellowship includes interning at Titlelist, an American golf equipment company, gaining insight she hopes leads to a full-time career in sports technology.
A nationally recognized program, the WiST fellowship pairs undergraduate and graduate students with six to eight week internships at organizations in the sports technology industry, like the WNBA and Nike, in their area of interest. The fellowship also matches students with a mentor and provides workshops to advance their professional development and network.
“It means a lot to be named a WiST fellow. All of the fellows this year are amazing and have incredible backgrounds, so to be in the same group with them is a very high honor,” said Whittaker, who joins 26 other undergraduate and graduate students, the largest cohort in the five-year history of the program.
During the WiST Fellow interview process, Whittaker utilized skills honed through the Professional Enhancement Program, a series of four required courses focused on career and professional development at the College of Business. In the classes, students explore their unique talents, create a resume and LinkedIn profile, practice interviewing and job search strategies, and learn best practices for topics likes like money management and negotiation for life after graduation.
“I am very thankful for everything the College of Business did for me and all other students to help us prepare for internships and post-education. I felt very prepared in my WiST interview and that is a big testament to the professors and staff that make the college so special,” she said.
Also earning a minor in business analytics, Whittaker discovered her interest in the subject from courses and faculty at the college, including Özgür Araz, Ron and Carol Cope professor of supply chain management and analytics. Due to his Predictive Analytics (SCMA 451) course, she learned to incorporate analytics into her career plans.
“Dr. Araz made SCMA 451 very interesting and applicable to real-life situations, and his ability to explain these concepts in a simple way helped me understand how analytics can be used in a professional career. He took a lot of time to help explain the concepts and that will help me in my fellowship,” said Whittaker.
Araz saw the WiST fellowship as a great opportunity for students to gain valuable real-world experience in analytics and encouraged Whittaker to apply.
“Megan being among the few selected nationally for this program is a great accomplishment, and she is the first student selected to this program from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It is also a great recognition of her academic training at the college,” said Araz. “This fellowship and experience will present her many opportunities to engage with the industry she is very familiar with, develop skills and network to establish a career path in the sports tech industry.”
Besides helping her professionally, the Husker also shared how she uses her analytical skills to succeed on the golf course.
“The Husker golf team uses an analytics software to track all of our strokes each round throughout practice and competition. Having an analytics background allows me to use this data even further to determine which areas of my golf game I should be focusing on so I can continually improve,” Whittaker said.
This summer she looks forward to starting her fellowship while working remotely as a talent acquisition intern at Titlelist. Positioned in the human resources analytics department, she plans to help “put systems in place” for recruitment efforts.
“I will learn a lot from everyone at WiST. It will provide great experience in the sports technology industry,” said Whittaker.
The opportunity to work for Titleist meant a lot to the Husker, who plays their golf balls, wedges and wears its apparel.
“Because I am a golfer, I’ve always liked the idea of staying in the golf industry so when this opportunity presented itself, I was super excited! I’m so happy to be a part of Team Titleist,” she said.
She also intends to continue her education at Nebraska by starting the fully online Master of Science in Business Analytics program this fall.
“Pursuing a Master of Science in Business Analytics will be very beneficial and add value to my undergraduate finance degree. I am very thankful to have had opportunities at the University of Nebraska to learn how passionate I was about analytics and sports technology. I am excited to continue using data and technology in my future to help me achieve my goals,” she said.
To learn more about the M.S. in Business Analytics programs or other graduate programs at the College of Business, visit: https://business.unl.edu/academic-programs/masters-programs/