Announcing The Python Software Foundation Scientific Working Group grant

Read on to learn more about Carpentries Instructor Vini Salazar’s work to develop the Carpentries Python Curriculum

Hi, I am Vini, a Carpentries Instructor and bioinformatician based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am very pleased to announce that my proposal “Maintenance and Development of The Carpentries’ Python Curriculum” was approved as part of the Python Software Foundation (PSF) Scientific Working Group’s call for grant requests. This call was announced in December of last year and its goal is “to advance the scope, breadth, and utility of Python for scientific work (…), with specific emphasis on maintainer / maintenance support, outreach and education, as well as improved infrastructure & documentation.”

What this means is that for the next two months (during April and May 2021), there will be dedicated developer time for assisting existing maintainers for any Python-related material across all lessons in The Carpentries curricula. This assistance will include resolving outstanding issues, advancing lessons in alpha and pre-alpha stage, updating documentation, and translating lessons to Portuguese. Although the project is dedicated for Python lessons, and specifically the ones that focus on scientific Python packages, it is also possible to work on upstream lesson infrastructure, such as templates and documentation. This project will be carried out by myself along with Toby Hodges, The Carpentries Curriculum Community Developer.

In these first weeks of the project, we are outlining the priorities of what work will be done. We highly value the opinion of the community and therefore would like to encourage you to reach out via Slack and/or GitHub (I am @vinisalazar on both) and express your thoughts and suggestions on what could be done to improve Python lessons in the Carpentries curricula. So, if you are a user who has recently encountered an issue in a Python lesson, or if you are a Maintainer who wants help to develop and/or maintain your Python lesson, please, feel free to reach out and I’ll be glad to assist, regardless of what it is.

Read the full text of the proposal

About myself

I have been a Carpentries Instructor since 2019. My programming journey actually began by taking a Carpentries Workshop with Instructor Raniere Silva in the SciPy Latin America Conference in 2016. Since then, I really took a liking for programming, and my undergraduate thesis project focused on strategies for teaching programming to my fellow biology majors. I had prior teaching experience from working as a scuba diving instructor, and similar to scuba, I believe that learning how to program is a very transformative experience, as both skills introduce the learner to a novel, different, and exciting world. I have been very inspired by The Carpentries’ way of teaching and Greg Wilson’s philosophy of Teaching Tech Together.

Throughout my career, I have worked almost exclusively with Python and have recently completed a MSc in Computer Engineering at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. I will be starting a PhD at The University of Melbourne as soon as border restrictions in Australia are lifted, and plan to continue teaching and contributing to The Carpentries community on the other side of the globe. Like many, participating in this community has been nothing but a truly positive experience for me, that has made me understand how important it is for people to learn data and coding skills and that has reinforced the principles, defended by the philosopher Paulo Freire, that knowledge should be an exchange, not a transfer, between instructors and students, and that education is a liberating experience that promotes critical thinking.

I am very honored to be able to carry out this project, in a grant generously awarded by the Python Software Foundation, that for me represents a token of collaboration between two really important institutions. I hope to be able to make a meaningful contribution to the community and to continue to participate in the years to come.

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