Introducing the Women of RENCI

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, RENCI acknowledges the daily hard work of each of its female employees. The research strides occurring at RENCI would not be possible without our female researchers, project coordinators, administrators, and communicators.

From left to right: Asia Mieczkowska, Jennifer Resnick, Claris Castillo, Hong Yi, Lea Shanley, Caryn Best, Lisa Stillwell, Margaret Wesley, Kristi Andrews, Laura Capps Hill, Rebekah Sturgess, Karen Green, Dawn Carsey, Annie Goessling, and Stephanie Suber

From left to right: Asia Mieczkowska, Jennifer Resnick, Claris Castillo, Hong Yi, Lea Shanley, Caryn Best, Lisa Stillwell, Margaret Wesley, Kristi Andrews, Laura Capps Hill, Rebekah Sturgess, Karen Green, Dawn Carsey, Annie Goessling, and Stephanie Suber

Recently, the RENCI communications team rounded up as many “Women of RENCI” as possible for a group photo and to learn more about how they contribute to the organization. The list below (and the photo) summarize the information gathered on that day.

In addition to the women pictured here and included below, RENCI acknowledges female employees who were out of the office on our information gathering day: Jay Aikat, computer science domain scientist; Laura Christopherson, senior research writer; Zoey Greer, iRODS systems programmer; Bonnie Hurst, senior project manager; Stephanie Lane, student employee; Huiying Ma, student employee; Samantha Petrie, student employee; Sharlini Sankaran, RENCI visiting data scientist at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences; Yiqi Wang, student employee; Sylvia White, human resources consultant; and Mary Whitton, senior project manager.

Kristi Andrews, senior accountant/business lead
Financial management.

Caryn Best, executive assistant/event planner
Assist the deputy director, as well as plan events that take place at RENCI.

Dawn Carsey, project coordinator
Plan events and support the work of the NCDS and iRODS.

Claris Castillo, senior researcher
Research distributed systems.

Karen Green, director of communications
Develop and execute marketing and communications strategies for RENCI, iRODS, and the NCDS.

Annie Goessling, project coordination intern
Help to plan and implement projects for RENCI and the NCDS, with a focus on communication with various stakeholders, survey creation, and metric tracking.

Laura Capps Hill, business services coordinator
Financial management of State, F&A, and Trust Funds for RENCI, iRODS, the NCDS, and the Center for Galapagos Studies.

Asia Mieczkowska, executive assistant
Assist the director in his daily activities, as well as in planning future engagements. This includes scheduling meetings, making travel arrangements, and drafting correspondence and other required documents.

Jennifer Resnick, project manager
Assist with the development and coordination of RENCI initiatives, including the NCDS and the South BD Hub. Plan activities that foster public/private partnerships and student engagement, including workshops, conferences, events, and meetups.

Lea Shanley, co-executive director, South Big Data Innovation Hub
Implement the vision and strategic direction for the South BD Hub, in collaboration with Georgia Tech.

Lisa Stillwell, research software developer
Assists researchers in creating and maintaining software tools that store and organize datasets that are large and complex.

Rebekah Sturgess, business services coordinator
Manage pre and post award finances for the Coastal Resilience Center and the Data-Intensive Cyber Environments groups.

Stephanie Suber, digital content specialist
Assist the director of communications in developing and executing marketing and communications strategies for RENCI, iRODS, and the NCDS.

Margaret Wesley, accountant/grants manager
Manage pre and post award proposals for RENCI and RENCI UBC. Schedule travel and reimbursement for the Mathematics and Climate Research Network.

Hong Yi, senior research software developer
Design and develop software for various projects; write proposals as needed.

 

RENCI CTO speaks to high school students on the future of computer science

The next generation of potential computer scientists are making their way to K-12 classrooms each day, but are these young minds being exposed to the fundamentals of computer science? According to Code.org, only one in four American high schools offer computer science courses, and few of those schools allow the course to count toward graduation.

To counteract these statistics, some computer scientists are working harder to share their knowledge and experiences from the field. RENCI’s Director of Informatics and Chief Technology Officer Charles Schmitt, PhD, joined the cause recently when he visited the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) to speak to a group of students about computer science.   Read more…

Research Triangle Analysts at RENCI: Topological Data Analysis

Research Triangle Analysts met at RENCI for their first monthly meeting of the new year on January 19. Research Triangle Analysts meet at RENCI every third month and elsewhere around the Triangle during other months. The group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit and all-volunteer organization, promotes the advancement of data science throughout the Triangle’s collaborative communities of analysts, mathematicians, statisticians, and scientists.

Research Triangle Analysts participants learn about topological data analysis at RENCI.

Research Triangle Analysts participants learn about topological data analysis at RENCI.

Hamza Ghadyali, a PhD candidate in mathematics at Duke University, featured as the speaker for the meeting. Ghadyali develops new topological data analysts (TDA) tools, particularly for the analysis of electroencephalogram (EEG) data. Topology is the mathematical study of shape. TDA tools analyze large, noisy, complex datasets from disciplines such as, but not limited to, oncology, astronomy, meteorology, and neuroscience. Analysis of the shapes and changes in shape represented by data yield information about the data.  Read more…

Crossing the pond in the name of better data management

iRODS Chief Technologist Jason Coposky offers guidance to iRODS users at the University of Utrecht.

iRODS Chief Technologist Jason Coposky offers guidance to iRODS users at the University of Utrecht.

The iRODS data management platform and the iRODS Consortium that works to sustain it are making waves well beyond their home base in Chapel Hill, NC.

This week, three of the smart, savvy people behind iRODS and the Consortium (iRODS originator Reagan Moore, Consortium Executive Director Dan Bedard, and Chief Technologist Jason Coposky) traveled to France, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands to talk about the benefits of iRODS as a data management solution for large distributed research projects, to provide training for those interested in becoming iRODS power users, and generally to evangelize about software that is now being used far and wide in Europe, the U.S., Asia, South America, Australia, and South Africa.  Read more…

Coffee and Viz series brings teaching in a Social Computing Room to life

Professors at NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill have access to a tool that can bring both excitement and exploration into their curriculum – the Social Computing Room (SCR). While the resource is available on both campuses, educators can be unsure about how it effectively fits into their course plans.

NC State’s Coffee and Viz series hopes to provide ideas for instructors of all disciplines by highlighting those already using SCRs and other visualization spaces and by providing speakers with novel ideas for the use of visualization in education and research.

Read more…

DataNet presentations lead to invigorating discussion at ESA annual meeting

ESAlogoDataNet Tools and Services was the topic of a session at the recent Ecological Society of
America Annual Meeting, held last month in Baltimore.

Chris Lenhardt and Mike Conway presented in the session representing the UNC Chapel Hill-based DataNet Federation Consortium (DFC). Chris is lead of the DFC Facilities and Operations team and is active in RENCI’s environmental sciences group; Mike is a senior developer with DFC.

Organized by Amber Budden of the DataONE DataNet project, the session used the IGNITE format: a series of 5-minute, 20-slide talks followed by Q & A. The fast-paced IGNITE talks present forward-looking, unconventional, and/or controversial ideas to spur the audience into questioning their usual assumptions and thinking creatively about the topic. Both of the DFC IGNITE talks challenged the audience to consider how a data management system can provide tools and services for scientists that go beyond simply storing, indexing discovering, and accessing data files. Read more…

Three keys to work-life balance

Last week, I was asked to speak to young professionals about work-life balance, so I have been pondering this topic a lot. How do you juggle both a full-time, demanding and exacting career and the often-contradictory demands of raising little human beings to become productive members of society? To be honest, I think the “secret” is that all of us are just winging it, really, and we are creating and maintaining balance as we go – even if it doesn’t appear that way to others from the outside. Parenting and careers are all about change. Just when you think you have achieved the perfect balance, something changes – your child starts potty training, enters puberty, adjusts to a new school, or gets chosen for a school team. You earn a promotion and gain new responsibilities, move offices (which affects your commute), or start a new job. Your spouse has to travel more or has a change in health condition. Older family members need care and help in a way they haven’t before.

Read more…

Software to accelerate science

In three years, the WSSI shows that software best practices can make a difference in water science.

Ask any elementary school student and they will tell you that water is a renewable resource.

Unfortunately, this “fact” comes with a few complications, like the truth that if we are not careful stewards of our water, it will run out. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), “more than 1.7 billion people live in river basins where depletion through use exceeds natural recharge.”

This trend could see two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed countries by 2025.

Understanding and sustaining water resources depends on using the best scientific modeling and software development practices, which is why RENCI has been part of the Water Science Software Institute (WSSI) planning grant for the past three years.   Read more…

Collaborations in coastal resilience

New funding for DHS Center of Excellence means continued collaboration with RENCI on coastal issues

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced it will provide $20 million over five years to fund the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (COE) at UNC-Chapel Hill. That’s a good thing for people in coastal areas who each year must cope with hurricanes, erosion, flooding, and storm surge.

Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. RENCI and the DHS Coastal Resilience Center work together to improve hurricane storm surge prediction.

Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. RENCI and the DHS Coastal Resilience Center work together to improve hurricane storm surge prediction.

The new grant acknowledges the effectiveness of a longtime partnership between the Coastal Resilience COE (formerly the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence) and RENCI. For more than five years, Brian Blanton, RENCI’s director of environmental programs and a coastal oceanographer, has worked closely with Rick Luettich, lead investigator for the Coastal Resilience COE and director of UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences, to enhance the ADCIRC storm surge modeling system and put it to use as a tool to help coastal communities understand, predict, and mitigate the impacts of coastal storms.

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Webinar to put the spotlight on metadata

Need your data to remain useful and discoverable over its entire lifespan? Metadata is the key.

metadata-loveMetadata—or data about data—and its importance in life sciences research will be the discussion topic at an upcoming webinar featuring RENCI’s Dan Bedard, Interim Executive Director of the iRODS Consortium, Stephen Worth, director of Global New Business Development Operations at EMC, and Patrick Combes, Principal Life Sciences Solutions Architect in EMC’s Emerging Technologies Division.

The webinar—titled Expanding the Face of Metadata in Next Generation Sequencing—takes place Wednesday, May 13 at 2 p.m. and should offer insights for life sciences researchers, bioinformatics specialists, software developers, and IT and research computing experts. To register, click here.

Read more…

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