Emma Connolly, '22

Emma Connolly portrait

Graduate Student

My name is Emma Connolly. I am from Danbury, CT. I graduated from The University of Scranton in May 2022, where I majored in kinesiology and minored in theology. During my time at Scranton, I was on the women’s cross country and track and field teams. I was also involved with the kinesiology club and intramural sports.

Hopes to Work in the Sports Product Industry 

I have always had a strong interest in sports products, especially footwear. There is so much that goes into creating a product and I always knew it was what I wanted to get into. As an extremely injury prone runner, I am very particular about what shoes I wear.

Academically speaking, my interests are within the applied sciences. As a kinesiology major, I was able to learn how the body functions and performs. Together, this led me to make the move out to the West Coast post grad with the hopes of getting into the Sports Product Industry.

Studying Sports Product Management

I am getting my Master’s in Sports Product Management at the University of Oregon. In this program, I get to learn everything within the product creation process from brief to box (ex: consumer insights, product line management, human performance, supply chain, sustainability, international markets, and go to market strategies). I also learned how to sew and make shoes!

In our lab space, we have our own materials libraries and lots of sewing machines to tinker around. In school, I was placed on a product creation team of five people and together, we are going through our own product creation process as we learn it in our classes.

Developing Product for Baseball Pitchers

We created a brand called EmberLayer, and we are developing a product for baseball pitchers based on the insight that “due to the nature of baseball, pitchers spend half the game idle, limiting required peak performance during time on the mound.” In short, cold kills potential, so we wanted to create a product to help solve this pain point.

We created a jacket, called the RB1, with strategic heating panel placements to target the back, shoulder, and elbow regions. It is Bluetooth capable and the app in which it is controlled shows real time temperature recordings so the players will always know when they are warm.

Our team is currently in the final stages of our development process. We are confirming a few more last-minute fit changes with our factory partners in Asia and look forward to our salesman samples arriving in a couple weeks!

Completed Internship at KEEN Footwear

This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to intern at KEEN footwear as a product management intern on the performance team. During this time, I was able to create and pitch my own briefs, create visual merchandising tools, participate in the FW24 final line close, present at line review 1 for SS25, and sit in on an array of meetings. I was fortunate enough to be kept on as a Product Line Coordinator, continuing to work within the trailhead category at KEEN.

Up next, I will be traveling to Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam and Tokyo, Japan with my class to visit some factories and get a sense of the retail scene. I am set to graduate in March 2024 and look forward to entering the next phase of my career within the sportswear industry. My long-term goal is to become a product line manager for performance running products to create some cool shoes for cool people.

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