Skip to main content

News & Stories

Baker, Fencer, Researcher

By: Megan Alt
First Published: February 23, 2023
Topics: STHM School

Assistant Professor Bradley Baker, STHM ’12, FOX ’17, has proven his excellence in many areas: as a distinguished scholar and researcher, a dedicated teacher, even a fencing athlete and coach. The STHM Editorial team caught up with him to learn more. 

Designing tools for a complex understanding of data 

Baker’s research focuses on where sport and technology intersect.  

“I’m interested not just in what has happened over the past few years in terms of sport consumption, but especially the future forms it will take,” he says. This ranges from esports and social media to NFTs (non-fungible tokens). He found his way into these areas of specialization after studying computer science and mathematical sciences as an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University. 

His second area of interest is quantitative research methods and meta science.  

“That part is about how we do what we do,” he says. “Here we come to understand the underlying mathematical operations—the process of how it was produced and procured. Statistics are powerful. And the implications can depend on what questions you ask. It’s essential to ensure that as researchers we are not misusing any of the data.” 

Baker says that typically this means not just analyzing data that emerge from surveys, but also customizing tools like social media scrapers to manipulate the data that are most relevant to a particular research topic.  

“This offers greater flexibility,” he says. 

International recognition for research excellence  

Last summer, Baker was named a Research Fellow of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM). This honor designates Baker as one of the top researchers in the field based on the impact of his scholarly work.  

A leading professional academic association in sport management, NASSM publishes the highly regarded Journal of Sport Management. Its fellows have demonstrated a continuous, high-quality record of presentations and peer-reviewed journal articles. This is not the only time NASSM has honored Baker; he received the 2022 Best Reviewer Award at the NASSM Conference in June, and as a graduate student he won a NASSM Student Research Competition Award in 2017.  

With the NASSM fellowship, Baker joins a cadre of six other Sport and Recreation Management faculty at the school who have received this award.  

Overlapping approaches to fencing and teaching 

Baker brings an athlete’s and a coach’s perspective to his current role in higher education. He fenced as an undergraduate student-athlete at Johns Hopkins University, worked as an assistant coach for the Temple University top-10 NCAA fencing team and spent 10 years involved with USA Fencing as a member of the board of directors, an international-level referee and other roles. 

A dedicated educator, Baker brings many aspects of his coaching experience into the classroom. 

“How I approach teaching is similar to how I approach coaching,” he says. “At the core of both is guidance in helping each individual to achieve their goals.”  

He sees the role of faculty members as helping the student to define and determine where they want to go in relation to where they are now.  

“Whether it’s in the gym with a sabre or helping students to work with analytics, my role is the same, and I do all I can to support that process of growth,” he says.