2017 Election: Sue McClatchy

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.


I’m a bioinformatician at a research lab in rural Maine, U.S.A. My path here has been winding, varied, and fraught with good luck. I had the good fortune to find Software Carpentry some years ago, and in my travels have never found anything quite like it. I’m honored to be part of this community and now want to give back by contributing my experience and expertise.

Previous involvement

I’ve been a certified Software Carpentry instructor since the spring of 2015. Since then, I’ve organized and taught 6 workshops, and have plans to teach 5 more in early 2017. I serve on the mentoring subcommittee and lead discussion sessions for new and experienced instructors. Presently, I’m working toward becoming an instructor-trainer, and expect to teach instructor training early in 2017 in addition to the 5 aforementioned workshops. This year I secured 4 years of partnership funding between [The Jackson Laboratory] (http://www.jax.org) and the Carpentries. The first year of partnership is funded by an internal grant, with succeeding years funded by a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

How I can contribute

I bring an uncommon perspective from formal teacher training and an 8-year career as a K-12 teacher in the U.S. and Latin America. Diverse abilities and cultures in the classroom are the norm for me, and I have much to share with instructors about how to best meet everyone’s needs - the first thing being a focus on learners’ needs. My training instilled the idea that the learner, not the instructor, is the most important person in the room. A learner-centered approach to instruction responds well to diversity and arms the instructor with tools to adapt instruction to new situations and new people. Many of these tools work equally well with both child and adult learners, and work across cultures and abilities.

I entered biomedical research in the early 2000s and have contributed my teaching expertise to the field since then. I’m well-acquainted with the need for improved computing and data analysis skills in research and know that the Carpentry approach promotes greater research productivity and happiness. I’ll bring this understanding to instructor training and mentoring to bolster instructional expertise within the Carpentry community.

I will help Software Carpentry to expand its training and instructional footprint into new regions, especially in Latin America, by teaching and by mentoring instructors there. In January 2017 I will teach workshops at the Talleres Internacionales de Bioinformática (International Bioinformatics Workshops) in Cuernavaca, Morelos, México. I intend to follow this with further training in Latin American countries, and to support those already teaching in these countries.

I will contribute grant-writing expertise to grow and sustain Software Carpentry by identifying and pursuing new sources of funding from foundations, government grants and institutional partnerships. I’m presently working on a NIH grant proposal and have shared the proposal with key NIH staff. I’m especially interested in pursuing funding that will broaden Software Carpentry into different communities than those it already represents well.

My goals are the following:

  1. Bolster instructional capacity and expertise by training and mentoring new instructors in all disciplines.
  2. Broaden Software Carpentry’s reach into largely untapped regions, especially in Latin America.
  3. Build Software Carpentry into a sustainable, well-funded organization that reaches a diverse audience.

More about me if you’re so inclined

More about me on LinkedIn, Github, and an occasional tweet from @SueMcclatchy. I also have a minimalist instructor training blog.

Dialogue & Discussion

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