Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

2016 Election: Karin Lagesen

For the past year, I have served as the Software Carpentry Steering Committee’s secretary. My involvement with the SCF started in 2012, when I attended a workshop in Oslo, Norway. I signed on as an instructor in 2013, and have taught 9 workshops since then. In addition to serving on the Steering Committee, I am also a member of the mentoring committee, where I have focused on ways of giving our instructors hands-on experience with the teaching material, with the goal of making it easier for new instructors to get started. I am also currently training to become an instructor trainer.

I have a PhD in bioinformatics from the University of Oslo, and am currently employed at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute and the University of Oslo. My background is in both computer science and molecular biology. Since I have formal training in both fields, I am frequently the one to translate the biological problem into a computational one. I have often been called upon to teach people with little to no training in computer science how to do their bioinformatics analyses. This means introducing them to Unix, to command-line work and to basic programming. Working in such multi-disciplinary situations has made me very aware of how hard it can be to move into a field far removed from your core area of expertise. This makes the values and skills that Software Carpentry teaches particularly important to me.

If re-elected, I will focus on maintaining and building on the high quality of our training, both when it comes to instructor training and to workshops. We are currently integrating new instructor trainers into the project. Having other people than Greg Wilson train instructors is an important transition for Software Carpentry, and it is vital that we manage this properly. To this end, I will work on building team cohesiveness among those who do instructor training, to help ensure that our training is consistent and that we’re all pulling in the same direction. I will also continue to work on improving the transition from instructor training to teaching that first workshop. The mentoring committee has made important advances in this area, and I aim to continue in that direction. I will also work on finding ways to upskill our existing instructor pool. The quality of our workshops depends heavily on the quality of our instructors, and it is therefore very important to ensure that they are adequately trained and supported.

Feel free to contact me on Twitter (@karinlag) or by email (karin.lagesen@gmail.com). I occasionally blog at blog.karinlag.no.

SOFTWARE CARPENTRY FOUNDATION · ELECTION 2016

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