Archery + Engineering Management = Connection!

Archery + Engineering Management = Connection!

This is the story of how a data analytics presentation made a connection between me and one of my professors. 

It's a pretty cool story, in my humble opinion. 

Professor John Neu, Emily Monroe, and Professor Daniel Egger with our bows - the yumi, a compound bow, and a target recurve bow. (Irene Kwon photo)

Professor John Neu, Emily Monroe, and Professor Daniel Egger with our bows - the yumi, a compound bow, and a target recurve bow. (Irene Kwon photo)

In May 2017 I finished up my distance masters program and spent the final week of coursework on campus at Duke University. Classes actually wrapped up a few weeks prior but the Duke distance Master of Engineering Management Program (d-MEMP for short) includes a "residency" portion where we get together for a week of presentations and workshops.

This residency lets us reconnect with the other students in the program and sometimes, if we are lucky, meet up with the on-campus personalities we've interacted with throughout the semester. I guess I'm lucky, because I got to do one of my favorite things (shoot archery) with one of my favorite professors (Daniel Egger). It is definitely the coolest connection I've had in the intersection of engineering and target shooting. So how did this awesomeness come to pass?

Making the Connections

My Data Visualization course at Duke focused heavily on making the presentation of data interesting. The best way to do that is to help the data tell a story. I loved this course and I tailored each assignment to be useful wherever I could. The Facebook analysis and website analysis I performed provided a lot of insights. In analyzing my own content, I shared that I am a target shooter of both guns and bows. In fact, my most popular Facebook post to date was my baby gender reveal archery trick shot video - it was 400 times more popular than anything else I posted. I shared that in class, including the video of the shot being made.

Small world - Professor Egger is also an archer! He shoots archery with his son in Raleigh, North Carolina. And he happens to shoot on a 30m archery range in his backyard. Can we say "new life goals?" I would love to have a 30m range at my house! 

Thankfully, when Professor Egger noted that the final residency was coming up for my graduating class, he invited me to shoot archery with him and his friend Professor John Neu. I couldn't say no to an opportunity like that! So I packed my graduation robe and my compound bow and headed to Durham, North Carolina.

Professor Egger and I at his archery range, discussing the plan to shoot archery together. (Irene Kwon photo)

Professor Egger and I at his archery range, discussing the plan to shoot archery together. (Irene Kwon photo)

When the day arrived, I was so excited to shoot with my professor. I brought two of my fellow grad students with me to observe, and it turns out we got to have quite an experience! The two other ladies each got to try shooting recurve. And John brought his yumi, a traditional Japanese longbow. This is a seriously cool way of shooting archery. 

John Neu is a master of kyudo, the art of traditional Japanese archery. (The "How-To" Gun Girl photo)

John Neu is a master of kyudo, the art of traditional Japanese archery. (The "How-To" Gun Girl photo)

Kyudo is the study of traditional Japanese archery. Archers use a yumi and shoot with a very specific draw and release cycle. You can see John following the traditional kyudo process in this video.

Since both John and I are engineers, I couldn't help but pick his brain to learn more about kyudo, the yumi, and his archery career. John, like Professor Egger, is a man of many talents! He is a professor of biomedical engineering and also shoots recurve. He has been a student of kyudo for many years. A few things I found fascinating are the path of the string (it ends up on the outside of the archer's left hand, though it starts on the shooter's right side) and the method of aiming. 

I had to pick the brain of this longbow archer while I could! I learned a ton from this longtime student of kyudo. (Irene Kwon photo)

I had to pick the brain of this longbow archer while I could! I learned a ton from this longtime student of kyudo. (Irene Kwon photo)

After watching John shoot several shots with his yumi - all of which were in the yellow, center-most part of the target face - I decided it was time to join in the fun! 

I love to shoot archery. 

I love to connect with people. 

I love that archery and engineering helped me connect to these amazing people!

From left to right: Professor Daniel Egger with a recurve bow, The "How-To" Gun Girl Emily Monroe with a compound bow, and Professor John Neu with a yumi, the traditional Japanese longbow. (Irene Kwon photo)

From left to right: Professor Daniel Egger with a recurve bow, The "How-To" Gun Girl Emily Monroe with a compound bow, and Professor John Neu with a yumi, the traditional Japanese longbow. (Irene Kwon photo)

You can click the image or this link to learn more about the Duke University distance Master of Engineering Management.

If the field of data visualization intrigues you, I highly encourage you to check out Professor Egger's (FREE) Coursera course! It's full of great information and tips on how to help your data tell a story. The course is Excel to MySQL: Techniques for Business.

Are you interested in learning more about my experience with archery or engineering management? Contact me using the link below! 

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