May Jingyan Wang
First, the doctoral Program in Sport Management is ranked No. 1 in the US! The rigor of teaching, research, and scholarly achievement of the professors are unparalleled. Second, my doctoral program supervisor Dr. Xue is also from China. She understands the context of my research and can provide the very support and guidance I need. Last but not least, during my interviews with professors at FSU, I felt that my experience was valued and that returning to school at my age and being a mother would not be obstacles to my success. I felt confident that at FSU, I would receive the highest quality training under the guidance of some of the best scholars in my field.
Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
For the past 15 years or so, I have worked to promote the internationalization and professionalization of sports in China. I worked on the Olympic Games and participated in the drafting of professional arena operation standards for the country. However, I feel I can contribute more to the progress of my country’s sports industry through teaching and research. I believe sports can unite people and make us healthier and happier. Currently, in China, the sports industry is still in its infancy. By making sports more accessible to everyone rather than just the elite athletes, as well as creating a more sustainable model of the sporting ecosystem, the full potential of sports can be released. Thus I am returning to school to learn how to become an educator and researcher who can be valuable to my country’s sports development.
Importance and/or impact of research and work
My research interest is in the sports business in general, including the globalization and professionalization of sports. I examine the business and operation models of sports events and venues. I consider such questions as, what is the relationship between mega sports events and urbanization? How about sports and entertainment districts, technology, and urban revival? Billions of dollars are pouring into sports venues and districts all around the world due to the promise of tourism revenue and city branding. But there are controversies about the cost and benefit, as well as the use of public land and resources. My home country, China, has been very aggressive in using sports as a tool to drive urban development. I think it is important to study different approaches around the world and seek to provide a framework for answering those questions. Thus I mainly employ an ethnographical approach and interviews as a method for my research. In addition, I am paying close attention to the rapid development of esports. It’s an emerging industry and though the name suggests “sports,” it is operated in a very different way than traditional sports. Understanding esports provides an outlook on future possibilities of how people spend their spare time.
I see my future career and goals in three aspects. First, I want to become an educator in higher education, using both my previous work experience in the industry and the scholarly training I have received to grow the next generation of sports industry practitioners and scholars. I would like to equip students with both the knowledge of the most up-to-date operation models, as well as the awareness of current-day concerns such as equity and inclusion. Second, I would like to produce more research on the globalization of sport. Previously as a practitioner, I advised sports authorities around China on how to develop sports. As a scholar, I will be better equipped to share my research results about sport development with decision-makers. Third, I would like to serve as a bridge for east-west sports communication, such as introducing western business models to China and participating in the process of making Chinese martial art (“Kungfu”) an Olympic event.
Advice for anyone considering graduate school
The sky is your limit! Don’t let others tell you "No" about your own education and aspiration! When I was considering applying to a PhD program, I had an earful of No’s. “No way you can endure the rigor of a PhD program as a mother of a young child." “No, you’ve been in the industry for so long – you can’t go back to school now.” I am glad I followed my heart. I did my research and found a program that suits me, is supportive of me and is beneficial to my career and personal development. I heard that the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. The next best time is now. If you have dreams about yourself and think graduate education can help you achieve that, do your research and go for it NOW!
Accomplishments during graduate career
My research paper titled “Revitalizing Sporting Space though Esports Venue Development: A Multi-Site Case Study of Esports Stadium and Fusion Arena” was selected to participate in 2022 North America Society of Sport Management (NASSM) Conference in Atlanta. My research paper titled “The Intersection of Asian and Female – An Autoethnography Study of Labor Inequity in China” was accepted by North America Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) Conference in Las Vegas, 2022.
I served as an instructor for two martial art and self-defense classes during Fall 2021, where I used a mixed teaching approach of demonstration, group practice, lecture, guest speakers, and audio visual contents. According to a verbal survey, the class boosted the students’ confidence, physical flexibility, safety awareness, and interest in martial arts. I have a cumulative GPA of 3.9. I passed my first year PhD qualifying exam. My son graduated VPK and is going to Kindergarten. Lastly, I placed second in a cooking competition.