A group of students from Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences worked on a semester-long project with local golf club manufacturer PING. The students are working on their degrees in statistics, and helped PING analyze golf grips. Dr. Connie Borror, an associate dean and professor in the college, and Robby Reiter, one of the students who worked on the project, will discuss their research.
Ted Simons: With the PGA tour in town for the Waste Management Phoenix Open we thought we would look at a golf story on how a group of students helped local golf club manufacturer Ping analyze grip alignments. Joining us now is Dr. Connie Borror, Associate Dean and Professor at ASU's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and Robbie Reiter, one of the students who worked on the project. Good to have you both here.
Robbie Reiter: Glad to be here.
Ted Simons: How did you partner up with Ping on this?
Connie Borror: For our program our bachelor's degree in statistics students have to do a capstone project. Working with a company or industry in the area. Robbie was a student in our program for a couple of years and had done an internship with Ping and knew this was coming up. He offered this opportunity, said I think Ping might be interested in providing a project for us to do. One thing led to another. I met with them and we were able to square it up, got a team of students that could work just like they were employed there, do some of the work and did a really nice project.
Ted Simons: This is statistics but we're also talking about golf club grip alignment. I love golf. I'm not sure what you're talking about here.
Robbie Reiter: one of the thing is, Ping's grips, some golfers utilize the aligns, they put lines on the grip.
Ted Simons: Yes.
Robbie Reiter: So having those in the right place is crucial to some golfers, a lot of pros and what not. They want to ensure their grips are put on as straight as possible. One of the things in our project was analyzing the data they had been collecting, figuring out what their current process was looking like, then also coming up with improvements for that. Going towards experimentation to provide some really sound information and backing their decisions moving forward.
Ted Simons: So it wasn't just basically hit it up, change it, you had a lot of statistical analogy here.
Robbie Reiter: A ton. It encompass-- we were able to utilize all the tools we learned at the West Campus in our new program. Just huge to show the impact we can have as undergraduate students in this sort of project utilizing these tools in a practical sense. I think that's a big part of what we're trying to go for here.
Ted Simons: It was a semester long project.
Connie Borror: Yes.
Ted Simons: take us through the certain steps here. What you saw that needed to be done and how the students responded.
Connie Borror: One of the first things that has to happen, we work with an enterprise in the community is we have to outline we got to get a project students can accomplish in a semester's time. Give them 12 weeks to work on it. What really is nice is we have a group of students, four students, four students on a team, and really it's up to them that they go in and they have to help identify with people at Ping. We have had a point of contact at ping that they worked with the entire time which is vitally important in these types of projects to be successful for students. But what happened was there were several things that Ping thought we could work on this, we could do this, this. One thing the students had to do their first assignment for me was scope out the project and say was exactly you're going to work on. That is easier said than done. Very rare that you don't have your scope is not big enough. It's usually they have so many things they want to work on and you never get to accomplish them. They to learn how do I decide what I'm going to work on that I can finish in 12 weeks. Ping signed off on it, I signed off on it and they worked from there, this grip alignment. What does that look like? How can they improve that, an area of opportunity for them. Through the semester they had to do several things it was a lot of statistical and non-statistical skills. They had to write reports, give presentations as a team. They were incredibly -- the way they ended up, it was every faculty member's dream the way they worked as a team.
Ted Simons: Yeah. As far as working as a team individually, did everyone -- was everyone a golfer? Did some people even know which end of the club was up?
Robbie Reiter: You can imagine we had an array. Me, myself golfing for a couple of years to some of us never golfing and not knowing any of the terminology. It was definitely interesting to see how well we pulled it together. We all utilized our strongest points and facets and got the job done.
Ted Simons: As far as the difference between what you learned in class and in previous undergraduate years and what you learned on this project could, you see the difference?
Robbie Reiter: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Ted Simons: As far as applying it in the professional world?
Robbie Reiter: I think that's half of it. Like the capstone really provides us that outlet to utilize those tools and really see with our own eyes how we can implement them. Really make an impact.
Ted Simons: I guess as well it's also -- a little bit of pressure. You're working now for Ping this. They're expect something out of you. It's not just classroom any more.
Connie Borror: No. Failure was not an option. The students had to do this project for Ping. That's why it was important for Ping to identify a project vitally important to them. It couldn't be, well if you get time go work on that. It needed to something they wanted to see get an improvement in. That was really important. For them to work as a team to be able to do that. When he talks about and when you mention using the tools that they learned, it was -- there's no text book problem here. It was they had to learn a lot. They did research. They did so much on their own, I think the best part of that what ended up happening was in the beginning of that term and this project the students, they came to me, what should we do next? Is this the right way? Within ten weeks, the 10th week they would just tell me what they were going to do, say, we think we're going this direction. What do you think? We're going to do that. It was fantastic. The faculty member's dream to watch their students go into that type of independence so successfully.
Ted Simons: Congratulations on a great semester and congratulations on a great project. Good luck.
Connie Borror: Thank you.
Ted Simons: Wednesday here on "Arizona Horizon" it's our weekly legislative update with the Arizona Capitol Times and we'll hear a discussion on just how much sports events like the super bowl actually help the local economy. That's at 5:30 and 10:00 on the next "Arizona Horizon." That it is for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks so much for joining us. You have a great evening.
Dr. Connie Borror:Associate Dean and Professor, Arizona State University's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences; Robby Reiter:Student, Arizona State University's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences;