Candidates for the US-RSE Steering Committee election are listed below. Four of these candidates will be elected for a two-year term starting January 2021.

If you have questions for the candidates, or questions about the election, please use the #election channel on Slack.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

 

Julia Damerow

Email, LinkedIn

Why do you want to be on the US-RSE Steering Committee?

Like probably every RSE I have met, I’m very passionate about research software and increasingly frustrated by the roadblocks many RSEs are facing when it comes to career development and progression, research software development and maintenance processes, and funding models around research software. I strongly believe that professional associations like the US-RSE Association play a critical role in changing this situation. I want to help advocate for US RSEs and strengthen our community with the overall goal to improve research by making research software a “first class citizen” and not just a by-product of research. Additionally, working in the digital humanities, I hope on the one hand to give digital humanities RSEs a voice within the US-RSE Association, and on the other hand help the US-RSE Association reaching out to and including digital humanities RSEs.

How do you contribute to the US-RSE Association or RSE community more broadly?

I’m one of the organizers of DHtech, a community of “techie” people in the digital humanities (aka digital humanities RSEs, people doing RSE work, but not all would call themselves RSEs). We have about 100 members by now and host webinars about digital humanities RSE-related topics (or often more general RSE-related topics). Due to the pandemic and so many virtual events going on at the moment, this has been on hold for a while though. We also started a blog on our website to illustrate what kind of work digital humanities RSEs do. I’m part of the organizing committee for the first US-RSE workshop, and participated in the last RSE Leadership Workshop. Besides that, I haven’t been as active within the US-RSE association as I would like to be, but I hope to change that, which is part of the reason why I nominate myself for the steering committee. One of the things, I’m interested in and that I hope to work on more is to understand the different skill sets that RSEs possess (from software development, over project management and DevOps, to research-related skills). We started discussing this during the last leadership workshop and I would like to continue to work on it.

 

Chris Hill

Email

Why do you want to be on the US-RSE Steering Committee?

I am interested in continuing working in the US-RSE steering commitee to 1. help US-RSE evolve over the next one to two years into a legally independent, non-profit organization that advocates for professional RSEs and their supporters in all sectors - academia, education, industry, government, individual professionals and not-for-profit enterprises 2. grow US-RSE membership in the next few years by working with the current US-RSE membership on active membership drives that engage all sectors 3. mature the US-RSE career channels to provide more information to the US-RSE membership around the full breadth of the RSE profession 4. work to help US-RSE establish mechanisms for recognizing professional skills and foundational education curricula that can strengthen the stature and stability of professional RSE careers 5. help US-RSE further the impact of professional RSEs in advancing research across all manner of fields.

How do you contribute to the US-RSE Association or RSE community more broadly?

I helped launch US-RSE and have continued to be involved, helping both organizationally and helping with seed funding for logistics and organization. In addition to helping promote US-RSE in career talks and sponsoring various activities as a member of the current steering committee, I participate in several US-RSE wide activities, including community calls and DEI activities. I am an active promoter of RSE careers. In my role overseeing research computing at MIT I sponsor RSE roles and careers. I have developed teaching curricula around RSE practice and around bridging between between detailed technical knowledge and research enterprise goals. I have spent more than 25 years working in the field of advocating for and developing open-source tools in research that can be widely reused and extended. Projects I have participated in have supported many publications and theses over many decades from researchers all over the world both in academia and in research laboratories. I am a lead of a widely used open-source ocean and geophysical fluid modeling effort and am active in a number of open-source projects that target next generation Earth system modeling. I also direct research computing at MIT and in that role work with a wide variety of research software practitioners that range from finance to plasma fusion.

 

Daniel S. Katz

Email, Website

Why do you want to be on the US-RSE Steering Committee?

I started working as an RSE in 1994, long before the name existed, and I’ve remained excited by research software engineering, trying both to do it and support it over my career. While we’ve made good progress in US-RSE, particularly in growing the community, we have more work to do, and I want to be involved in guiding that work, and understanding what the larger RSE community wants the association to help with as well. My specific goals are: 1) to continue to grow the community; 2) to encourage more members to become active, from contributing to the website to leading community calls to leading working groups; 3) to increase the diversity of both our membership and the RSE community; 4) to increase the recognition of those who perform software work in universities and labs; 5) to study, document, and publicize different models for RSE groups in universities; and 6) to work with other national RSE organizations in collaborative activities to promote Research Software Engineering.

How do you contribute to the US-RSE Association or RSE community more broadly?

I’ve been involved in software development for over 30 years, and I’ve consistently seen myself and others who do this work be underrecognized for our contributions. This makes it harder to write, share, and maintain good software. Starting in 2013, I felt that I was in a position where I could try to change things, and I started by co-organizing the WSSSPE series of events. Around this time, I was excited to learn about the RSE title, and this led me to join the UK RSE organization, to attend the four RSE conferences in the UK, and to get involved in the international movement. I then co-wrote the 2017 International RSE Survey, adding a couple of separate questions at the end that were intended to find people who wanted to start a US RSE organization, and this was one of things that led to the current US-RSE, which I co-founded and have been on the steering committee of from the start. I’ve played an active role in US-RSE, working on the website, documentation, community calls, and workshops (including as a co-PI on our Sloan Foundation award for a community-building workshop), as well as in the international RSE movement. I’ve also worked on related projects and organizations, such as the Research Software Alliance (ReSA) and the US Research Software Sustainability Institute (URSSI) Conceptualization, to try to bring all of these communities together.

 

Lance Parsons

Email, Website

Why do you want to be on the US-RSE Steering Committee?

Being one of the founding members of the US-RSE Steering Committee and seeing the US-RSE grow into a vibrant and inclusive community has been a very rewarding experience. I’ve been in a research software engineering role for twelve years, but I was amazed how much clearer the idea of an RSE was once I discovered a name for it, thanks to the then UK Research Software Engineers Association. I knew many people who worked in similar roles, often alone in a lab as the sole computational expert. While it is great to be needed, it can be very isolating and isn’t conducive to professional growth. I joined the initial Steering Committee to build our community where we can learn from each other, and ultimately to help develop a true career path for Research Software Engineers. I’m very enthusiastic about the growth of the association, and would welcome the opportunity to continue to serve on the US-RSE Steering Committee.

How do you contribute to the US-RSE Association or RSE community more broadly?

As a senior RSE on the research computing team in the genomics institute at Princeton, I put an emphasis on following good software engineering practices, providing reproducible results, and building reusable workflows and tools. We teach the value of these skills to the next generation of scientists, providing not only results, but the code and knowledge to reproduce those results. I believe in open source, open science, and collaboration, taking the time to push changes and fixes to upstream projects. I see it as particularly important for RSEs to contribute back to the open source tools we use whenever we have the chance. My initial involvement in an RSE organization was in helping to organize a local group at Princeton. Through that I was able to see how broad the RSE community truly was, encompassing people in many disciplines, from the sciences, to social sciences, and the humanities. Shortly after that group was formed, we began building the US group through the creation of an initial website and a Slack workspace and eventually formed the Steering Committee. We meet monthly (since June 2019) to develop the organizational framework and discuss activities such as planning workshops and holding community calls. It’s been very gratifying to see the US-RSE community grow in that time, and I’m excited to see where we go over the next couple of years and beyond.

 

Gregory R. Watson

Email, LinkedIn

Why do you want to be on the US-RSE Steering Committee?

As Group Leader of the Application Engineering Group, I see it as my role to promote the goal of software excellence at ORNL. This involves a range of internal activities, but importantly, also requires interaction and collaboration with the broader RSE community, of which US-RSE is an integral part. I see this as essential because we don’t have all the answers for how to change our culture to embrace software excellence and want to learn from others. We also have many thoughts and experiences that may help others on this journey. As a Steering Committee member, I hope to be able to provide input, and leverage my past experience with volunteer organizations, in order grow US-RSE so that it becomes a focal point for communication and collaboration between RSEs and other RSE groups in the broader community.

How do you contribute to the US-RSE Association or RSE community more broadly?

I haven’t been contributing directly to the US-RSE Association directly, however I would like to change that. I contribute to the RSE community primarily through my work with the Better Scientific Software and Productivity and Sustainability Improvement Planning (PSIP) projects, which are part of the ECP IDEAS project, and through participation in the Collegeville Workshop on Sustainable Scientific Software.

 

Zhiyong Zhang

Email, LinkedIn

Why do you want to be on the US-RSE Steering Committee?

RSE has long been a critical driving force of scientific discovery with HPC. The role of RSE has been continuously evolving and encompasses a diverse range of scientific and technological disciplines. As computing becomes more ubiquitous in academic research, academic researchers face a shortage of expertise in rapid and sustained research software development and engineering. Software development in academia often requires deep knowledge in scientific disciplines as well as broad knowledge in different aspects of software engineering, development, and maintenance. Such specific yet broad expertise and experiences needed by a diverse community of researchers can hardly be met by software engineers and developers at a single institution. I see the RSE as a perfect platform for addressing this need.

How do you contribute to the US-RSE Association or RSE community more broadly?

As a steering committee member, I would work together with fellow committee members and the general RSE community, to facilitate the development of a collaborative network of software developers, together and with complementary expertise in different disciplines, that can engage, collaborate, support, advice, and train researchers, especially those who have software development needs but lack the experience and expertise, to address the challenges they face in addressing the software development needs at various scales. Some specific objectives include: (1) explore funding mechanisms and opportunities with public and private stakeholders; (2) explore coordinated support models and mechanisms for academic research groups and projects; (3) explore and develop workshops, summer schools and other educational activities for software infrastructures, software education; (4) explore demands of software development and engineering practices and needs specific to emerging science and engineering focus areas such as quantum computing and the rapidly evolving machine learning and artificial intelligence.