If she had gone to another liberal arts school where an intensive research project is not required, which she very nearly did, Erin Davison ’13 is sure that she wouldn’t have decided to do one, and she probably wouldn’t have the position she does today as a director of research and data science at Turnkey Intelligence. “Wooster taught me how to do research, how to think critically, and how to solve problems,” Davison said. “These are the skills I need each day to perform my job. I am so in love with my job; it challenges me every day while giving me the opportunity to apply my research and analytical skills to a topic I’m passionate about.”
Turnkey Intelligence is a company that does custom market research in the sports industry, helping teams and leagues solve their questions about marketing and fanbases. Davison’s passions for research and sports that she engages daily in her job were sparked in her time at Wooster as a math major, physical education minor, and four-year player on the women’s soccer team.
Just as she didn’t initially expect to go to Wooster, Davison also didn’t expect to be a mathematics major. A simple encouraging comment from a professor on one of her calculus tests during her first year made Davison decide to major in mathematics, a department in which she was able to develop the meaningful faculty-student mentor relationships that Wooster prides itself on.
Davison took six or seven classes with Professor of Mathematics Jim Hartman, who also supported her outside the classroom by going to nearly every home game of the women’s soccer team. “It means so much to us as athletes when we see our professors have come to watch us compete at a sport we’ve dedicated so much time and energy too,” Davison said.
Davison also spoke to the influence that Professor of Mathematics Jennifer Bowen had on her. “She was without a doubt the best teacher I’ve ever had,” Davison said. Bowen’s impact on Davison continues to this day. “What I appreciate the most about Dr. Bowen is her passion for the advancement of women in STEM. It’s a passion that I now share and I hope one day I can impact young women the way she continues to impact me,” Davison said.
The skills that Davison gained at Wooster also continue to shape her passions and work. Though she didn’t research sports marketing for her Independent Study, Davison said, “it isn’t so much what you research that stays with you but rather the skills to do the research. I love knowing that Wooster empowered me to learn about anything I want to learn about.”