Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Martin Callaghan: Nomination for 2018 Steering Committee

2018 Election: Martin Callaghan

So, who are you?

I’m Martin Callaghan and I’m a Research Computing Consultant (part research software engineer, part trainer, part consultant and part outreach) at the University of Leeds in the UK, where I provide programming and software development consultancy across a diverse research community, including the Arts and Social Sciences, for Cloud and High Performance Computing.

It’s an exciting job where I get to work with researchers to understand their research questions and support them in developing and selecting computational platforms, tools and applications to help them answer those questions.

Tell me how you’ve been involved with the Carpentries?

I discovered the Carpentries in late 2013, just after I joined Leeds. I became an instructor and since then I’ve taught on around 20 Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry and Library Carpentry workshops at Leeds and elsewhere. I’ve had the privilege to work with many of you over the past few years and I want to continue to enable and support you.

I’ve been a co-applicant and lead instructor on four successful grant awards to run bespoke three-day Software Carpentry workshops to support PhD students and early career researchers to improve their programming skills.

We’ve been an organisational member at Leeds almost from when they became available. Watching the Carpentries grow and develop has been a great opportunity and it’s been amazing to have been a part of this.

Recently, I’ve become an instructor trainer. It’s been a great experience to work with two groups of prospective trainers and hear from them how excited they are about becoming trainers and running their own workshops.

How would you help develop the Carpentries if elected?

Constituency building: I would like to help develop further the organisational membership model.

I’ve seen at first hand how the Carpentries teaching model and the lesson materials have made a real difference to people’s research. I would like to extend this impact to smaller and less research focussed institutions so that they are able to benefit from the Carpentries approach.

Community building: Over the past few years, I have seen both Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry evolve and now move into the future as a merged organisation. We’ve seen fantastic developments with Library Carpentry and now HPC Carpentry. I want to support and encourage other research communities to work with the Carpentries family.

I’m particularly interested in exploring how we can use the Carpentries approach in undergraduate teaching, Business Schools and in the Fine, Applied and Performing Arts.

Serving our diverse communities: I’ve seen how the Carpentries have been a force for good. There’s been some amazing work in developing Carpentries in Africa and South America and I want to continue to support this work and help to reach out to new communities both locally and further afield.

Continuous pedagogical improvement: In a previous career, I was a high school teacher and teacher trainer. I know the importance of good teaching & learning and rigorous evaluation. If elected, I want to make sure that our ever improving teaching model stays at the heart of the Carpentries approach.

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