2016 Election: Lauren Michael

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

About Me

  • B.Sc. Biology, Chemistry - Truman State University
  • M.Sc. Biophysics - University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • 3 years instructing with SWC; certified Fall 2014
  • 9 SWC workshops organized/helped; 8 as an instructor
  • 1 DC workshop organized/helped

Relevant Volunteer Work

  • Social Media Manager for Midwest Ultimate, 2013-2014
  • Science Editor and Writer for the Daily Cardinal, 2011-2012


Research Computing Facilitator at UW-Madison’s large-scale computing center, the Center for High Throughput Computing, where I lead user interaction efforts and spend much of my time working directly with researchers to:

  • consult on computational research design
  • provide issue support
  • develop and deliver learning materials
  • match researchers to eachother and to additional resources

Beyond my direct work with researchers, I:

  • partake in design decisions for computational infrastructure
  • contribute to strategic initiatives to improve IT-related services for researchers
  • advocate for researchers and their IT-related needs to campus administrators and other stakeholders

Previous Contributions

Shortly after I started my current position, three years ago, I began working with long-time SWC (and pre-SWC) advocates to establish an ongoing schedule of SWC workshops at UW-Madison. To this end, I continue to manage local workshop logistics and coordinate our community of 15+ instructors and helpers. Prior to switching to current SWC curricula in Aug 2015, I led the development of experimental curricula with support from SWC leadership. I otherwise work alongside Christina Koch, who serves as a Shell curriculum maintainer and instructor trainer.

Steering Committee Enthusiasm

I am passionate about enabling researchers to most-effectively leverage computational tools and technology, in part, as a result of my own struggles as a scientist. For this reason, I not only firmly believe in the mission of SWC, but care deeply about ensuring the organization’s future.

Based upon experiences and expertise I have gained in my professional, volunteer, and specific SWC activities, I believe I can help to continue the success of the organization’s activities and its strong community of contributors. I have a demonstrated interested in motivating participation within communities, appealing to relevant stakeholders, and managing the execution of a range of training efforts.

As SWC embarks on what I believe will be a period of significant growth, I would be honored to contribute to strategic decisions that secure the future of SWC’s ability to empower researchers. I am impressed with recent efforts to improve training and support for instructors, and look forward to any opportunity to share my own ideas, including encouragement of peer training from SWC’s most effective instructors and rewarding significant contributions to curricula and documentation. In order to make stronger arguments to existing and potential partners, I believe SWC can invest in strategies to leverage support from attendees and from leaders in research. These strategies will be essential to securing the organization’s financial sustainability, enabling SWC to scale for the increasing demand for workshops and materials. Furthermore, I look forward to more formally representing SWC, in part, to manage perceptions of the brand by emerging stakeholders.

Because an organization like SWC is only as strong as its community, let me know your thoughts! lmichael-AT-wisc.edu

Dialogue & Discussion

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