Author: Jessica Guillory
Date: October 5, 2015
Categories: Business|Chemistry|Communications|Computer Science|Data Science|Mathematics|VOCA

On October 16, Houghton College will be sending a group of students to the GolfWeek Amateur Golf Tour’s National Championships to conduct statistical examinations of the events for an economic impact study, a chance for business, data science, communications, bio-chemistry, computer science and math students, in particular, to apply their education to real-world settings. This experiential learning opportunity, coordinated by Houghton’s Vocational Opportunities and Career Advising center (VOCA), is the first of many Houghton will offer over the coming semesters. 

The GolfWeek tour brings together about 700 golfers from across the country during which Houghton students will implement surveys to collect information concerning the event’s economic impact on the Hilton Head, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., areas. The surveys intent will be to measure changes in the local businesses revenues, profits and jobs as a result of the event. After analysis, the findings will be presented to the Hilton Head Business Council.

Dr. Dexter Davis, a Houghton alumnus and professor in the sports management program at the University of Tennessee at Martin, will serve as the on-site supervisor and director for the team of eleven Houghton students as they gather data. 

Kim Pool, director of the VOCA center, said, “Students will be able to experience and see firsthand the operation of a national sporting event and apply classroom learning in a real life situation.” 

At Houghton College, the Data Science I class and a consulting team lead by business administration professor Kenneth Bates and economics professor Dr. Robert Black will also be involved, making this an interdisciplinary endeavor. 

The Data Science class will be responsible for writing the survey and analyzing the information collected by the traveling team. 

Houghton College is currently growing its data science curriculum, leading the way among liberal arts institutions. The consulting team, consisting of mostly business majors, will research the event and the community prior to the event, giving their findings to the data science class to use as they write the survey. 

Students on the traveling team will gain the experience of working with individuals from a variety of disciplinary areas, similar to many of the job settings they will enter after graduation. 

“The opportunity to put something like this on their resume would be beneficial for future marketability,” said Kim Pool. “We are thankful to Dr. Dexter Davis for including Houghton students in these opportunities.”