Make The Connection

September 1, 2022 | By Cole Hatcher

Kara Cannon ’25 was named a 2022 Women in Sports Tech Fellow and completed an internship with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Sports Reference LLC, helping to improve the user experience for its multiple websites. (Photo by Paul Vernon)


Ohio Wesleyan Student Earns National Fellowship, Attends Data Conference, Completes Internships

Kara Cannon ’25 took a break from her summer internship to enjoy the Lantern Festival in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. (Photo by Renee Cannon)

Name: Kara Cannon ’25
Hometown: Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Majors: Computer Science and Fine Arts
OWU Connection Experiences: WiST (Women in Sports Tech) Fellowship, DataConnect Conference attendance, and OWU Office of Multicultural Student Affairs internship

Cannon is off and running at Ohio Wesleyan – not only as a member of the women’s track & field team – but also with OWU Connection experiences that are helping her to reach her personal and career goals.

Since joining the university in fall 2021, Cannon already has been named a 2022 WiST (Women in Sports Tech) Fellow, attended the 2022 DataConnect Conference sponsored by Women in Analytics, and completed an on-campus internship helping to promote OWU’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

WiST Fellowship

According to the organization, “The WiST Fellowship Program supports female undergraduate and graduate students eager to begin their careers in the sports tech industry.” … WiST Fellows complete a 6-8 week summer internship with “one of the sports tech industry’s most innovative startups or established businesses.” The fellows receive a $5,000 grant to support their experiences.

“I was referred through one of the board members of the organization after I was awarded the EFT Global scholarship.” Cannon said. “From there I applied through their official site and I got in. The next steps were to assign me to one of their partner companies for a summer internship. I worked with Sports Reference as a UX/UI (user experience/user interface) intern, where I conducted user interviews and focus groups, and created UIs and prototypes for apps. I even got to go to their main office in Philadelphia for a short trip.”

DataConnect Conference

“The DataConnect Conference was in downtown Columbus for two days, and I actually got to go to the extra workshop hosted a day before the original event,” said Cannon, who received OWU Connection funds to support her attendance.

“There were a lot of very important discussions about the future of the industry and the impacts AI (artificial intelligence) can have on society.

“The most important thing I learned is that analytics is more than just collecting data but applying the business know-how to collect the right information and apply it to reach our goals.”

In addition to Cannon, Ohio Wesleyan staff member Danielle Bailey, Ph.D., also attended the Columbus, Ohio, event.

“Kara and I got to learn about current trends and innovations in data science and analytics from leading women in the field,” said Bailey, who works as a career catalyst working to create opportunities for students interested in STEM careers.

“Attending conferences as an undergraduate provides a great opportunity to take what you’ve learned in the classroom and see how it’s being applied in real-world problems and situations in your industry. It broadens your network by connecting you with industry leaders and allows you to learn from others at all stages of their careers.”

OMSA Internship

While completing her on-campus internship in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA), Cannon worked to develop social media content and organize inventory, create graphic design content for posters and infographics, and engage in social activism.

“The greatest lesson it taught me was to be proactive to make a difference in the world to make it a better place,” she said.

Ready for the World

“These real-world experiences help me become the person I want to be by getting me out of my comfort zone, and getting me into the digital space,” Cannon said. “I struggle with my confidence. So much so that I hesitate to learn new skills.

“The people that have helped me the most would be my advisor Kristina Bogdanov and Newton Kimberly. … Newton was the first person to help me get out there and review my resume. Kristina helped me adjust and learn more about my resources and adjust to school life. … She has supported me and helped me put together a plan to reach my goals.” Bogdanov, M.F.A., is a professor of Fine Arts and Kimberly ’13, M.P.A., is a career catalyst helping students interested in careers that have social impact.

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I was recruited by Kris Boey to run for the track team, and from there I learned about your programs and joined.”

My Plans After Graduation

“My plans after graduation are to go into design. I'm not sure what specifically but as long as it’s creative, I’ll be happy.”