Thanks to funding from the Philadelphia Phillies, Aya Nadalin '25 was able to attend the 2023 Women in Sports Data Symposium at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Nadalin was one of just 10 recipients of a fellowship which provided her with the opportunity to attend the symposium, two nights of overnight accommodations, a daily stipend for meals and local transportation, as well as the opportunity to receive mentorship and networking opportunities with Phillies R&D staff.
“Receiving the Phillies Fellowship has been an extremely rewarding experience that has opened my eyes up to the applications of data analytics in the world of sports.” Nadalin said. “For one thing, attending the symposium helped me realize that in a world filled with so much data, the key is knowing how to leverage it correctly to further your goals.”
The Women in Sports Data conference aims to amplify women's voices in the sports analytics field by hosting a one-day symposium with various events and panels featuring professional industry leaders. Throughout the conference, Nadalin had the opportunity to learn from senior-level executives on multiple topics, including data visualization. She also had the chance to connect with her mentor.
“Having the opportunity to connect with my mentor one-on-one to discuss my career goals, classes, and general college life has been extremely rewarding in helping me navigate this new chapter of my life.” Nadalin said. “It feels good having so many people on my team who want to see me win and are so generous with their time.”
Outside of the conference, Nadalin was able to work with her mentor, who provided her with resources to grow as a professional, whether it was through career advice or network building. Nadalin considered her mentor of great help, as they provided her with the opportunity to explore the copious amounts of opportunities that exist within the sport analytics industry.
“As someone who is interested in business analytics, having the opportunity to network with someone on the business side of sports has substantially opened my window of understanding in how teams are using data outside of player performance.” Nadalin said. “I hope to further my curiosity by continuing to work for their business development department for the rest of the year.”
Leading up to the fellowship, Nadalin spent her summer working for Eventellect LLC, a ticket strategy company, which sparked her interest in business analytics. She had the opportunity to further explore this interest during the fellowship by closely collaborating with a research and development employee from the Phillies, solidifying her commitment to pursuing a career in this field.
“My experiences wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity and guidance of Rice's Department of Sport Management,” Nadalin said. “To them, the words 'no' and 'impossible' don't exist. They push me to work harder, dream bigger, and think deeper about the world around me. I truly could not have a better team supporting me, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with such amazing professors and advisors.”
Nadalin also expressed her gratitude for the department and its role in her professional success. She described how their attention to detail, relentless pursuit of perfection, and constant hunger have played a significant role in her progress in just one year.
Sergio Rojas, a sophomore from Houston, Texas, is double-majoring in Business with a concentration in Finance and also Sport Management with a concentration in Leadership.