Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

2015 Election: Jason Williams

"You can trust in Jason, he's your friend!" — Decent People

I can't recall ever running in an election - rule by fiat is what "just feels right" to me. I have on occasion thought about running for office but I usually lack ambition (although I'm attracted to power). The fantasy of being the candidate people vote for even though he is clearly against their interest just makes my pedipalps tingle. So, when I learned about the Software Carpentry Foundation election, I thought, "let's try that!"

Why I'm Asking for Your Vote

Have you openly laughed or at least been freaked out by the possibility of my candidacy? The SCF will be laughing all the way to the bank as I work with the rest of the Steering Committee to think up ways to get funding to support SCF activities. I mean, have you seen my twitter pic (@JasonWilliamsNY) — people don't come back to me with a "no."

I'll be using my experience as the outreach and training lead for the iPlant Collaborative to focus on assessment. Since I first took SWC teaching training in 2014, I've been interested in a question articulated by one of my intellectual heroes, George W. Bush: "is our students learning?" Having taught more than 50 bioinformatics workshops in 20+ US states and 6 countries (that's a lot for an American) and having organized many more events than that, I'll use my experiences to improve how we run and organize workshops — collecting data that demonstrates impact, attracts funding, and enables rationally motivated improvements.

Additional Qualifications:

  • iPlant Experience: this has given me the management chops to work with large virtual organizations spanning diverse institutional cultures. My responsibilities also include managing our own training evaluation program. I can process up to 5 conference calls simultaneously, though I like to keep it down to 2 or 3. I'm also a super-humble pleasure to work with.

  • Rational people are (for reals) interested in my opinions: whether its advising the tlhIngan yejquv on how #opensource buzzwords can defeat the Dominion, or working on The Genome Analysis Centre's Scientific Training Advisory Board, people have actually invited me to say what I think.

  • Not afraid of looking or sounding stupid: that should be obvious by now, but this trait combined with colleagues who will keep me in check can actually generate some creative ideas.

  • I'll make you a pie if you vote for me (at least the person who votes for me the most).

  • I'm a pretty good communicator: SCF is going to need people who can advocate and represent it on various levels (teaching, funding, etc.).

In Conclusion

As my flight descends below the 10,000 ft. Wi-Fi cut-off, you hopefully now have a good idea of what I bring to the table that will help make the SCF successful. Remember, I'm not going to make it if everyone just votes for some unrealistic "ideal candidate" — toss me enough votes to place a strong 4th. Is that 500 words? Now it is.

SOFTWARE CARPENTRY FOUNDATION · ELECTION 2015

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