Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Introducing Maneesha

This is a long overdue post introducing myself to all of you. I've met many of you (at least virtually!) over the past few months but I wanted to formally introduce myself to the Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry community.

My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in education & psychology and educational linguistics, respectively. For nearly 20 years, I've been teaching and managing educational programs in school and community based settings, in domains including cultural studies, literacy, and art.

In 2010, I severely broke my leg. I spent the summer homebound as the pins, plates, and screws holding it together healed. I used that time to teach myself programming - it was the perfect way to spend my time when I was mostly immobile. I started off learning Python and got hooked. From there I learned SQL, some R, VBA, JavaScript, and some HTML and CSS - although I lack any visual sense needed for front end design work. I've been involved in local tech communities and have taught several Python bootcamps. I used the skills I was learning to help with all the data management and analysis I needed to do for community based educational programs -- just as we hope our students will do for their research.

In 2014, I saw a listing for a SWC workshop in Philadelphia and considered signing up as a student. It turned out the instructor was a friend of mine and actually asked me to help teach. This was a powerful reminder of "imposter syndrome" that many of us deal with, when I realized I was more qualified to be a teacher than a student. I signed up for the instructor training course later that year, and now here I am, working for Software Carpentry.

I joined as staff in August 2015, and have spent the past few months developing systems to manage and organize everything it takes to make a Software Carpentry workshop happen. Last month, I also joined Data Carpentry, working in a similar capacity. Looking forward, I want to work with all of you to move beyond just the logistics and checklists of how workshops happen. For our instructors, if you've taught many SWC/DC workshops, what makes you keep coming back? If you haven't taught yet, what can we do to make it easier for you to get started? How connected do you feel to the SWC/DC community, and what can we do to support that? In what other ways (besides teaching) would you like to contribute (or have you contributed) to SWC and DC? For our hosts and partners, how have you benefitted from hosting our workshops? What can we do do build on this? And for our learners, how did our workshop impact your research?

Feel free to comment here, or you can reach me at admin@software-carpentry.org or admin@datacarpentry.org. I'm also on twitter @maneeshasane.

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