Undergraduate Azalia Cyphers finally will be able to merge her passions for biomedical engineering and sports at the Women in Sports Data Symposium in late August, courtesy of the Houston Astros.
The Major League Baseball team has selected Cyphers for an inaugural Women in Sports Data Fellowship, supporting her attendance at the symposium in Brooklyn and giving her the “very rare opportunity of pursuing my interests and dreams,” according to the third-year student in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.
“It was already surreal discovering the Women in Sports Data initiative and how MLB really wanted to pour into women that aspire to work in technical roles through the fellowship, so to be selected felt like a dream come true,” Cyphers said. “I was inspired by the women behind the scenes of professional sports. As a former athlete and manager for my high school baseball team, I’ve always wanted to examine the intersection of biomedical engineering for injury prevention and recovery.”
Cyphers also is a Georgia Tech College of Engineering Clark Scholar, a signature academic program combining engineering, leadership, and community service. She has been on the lookout for ways to blend her athletic background and her engineering education. When she started to learn how to find and use measurable data to create healthcare solutions in courses like Problems in Biomedical Engineering and Conservation Principles, she saw how biomechanics tools and techniques can help researchers, trainers, and athletes use data to optimize performance and recovery.
Since May, Cyphers has been working on a research project developing devices to collect data from Georgia Tech athletes that could help them prevent injuries and promote recovery. At the symposium, she said she’s eager to meet with the Astros research and development team to talk to them about her ideas, get feedback, and formulate her next steps.
Those conversations are just one of the opportunities Cyphers said she’ll have to connect with other women who share her interest in helping athletes with actionable data.
“I am hoping to get guidance and greater insight from women working in technical roles, especially regarding data science and the use of biotechnology in baseball,” Cyphers said. “I am also looking forward to networking with peers who have their own sports data dreams and goals, and to be on the forefront of impactful change in the professional sports industry.”