Larissa Gordon, who has been with us at the Unidata Program Center as a Communications Intern since March 14th, 2016, is reaching the end of her internship; her last day at the UPC will be September 30th. While Unidata has had student interns working on software development projects for several years, Larissa is our first Communications Intern. In that role, she has assisted with a variety of Unidata projects. Most notably, Larissa worked with Unidata community members to document the data management workflows they used in their research projects. Her efforts have greatly enhanced the “Scenarios and Use Cases” section of Unidata's Data Management Resource Center (DRMC).
This section of the DMRC provides concrete examples of real-world data management workflows for researchers looking to implement a robust process for dealing with data they collect or generate — and satisfy funding agency requirements as well. Larissa worked with five different universities, each highlighting a different data management challenge. The scenarios presented address projects that involve differing amounts of data, in different formats, as well as the challenges of transforming, sharing, and archiving the data produced.
In addition to working in a relatively technical writing style for the Scenarios and Use Cases, Larissa also produced more journalistic format synopses of each research project. These articles have been (and will continue to be) published in the News@Unidata blog.
“On top of her research and writing for the DMRC, Larissa was eager to lend her writing talent to other projects,” says UPC technical writer Doug Dirks. “If you've been reading the News@Unidata blog this summer, you've undoubtedly noticed her byline on articles large and small.”
Larissa has also been involved with Unidata's Online Python Training project (OPT). As interest in Python has grown within the Unidata community, UPC staff have endeavored to create useful online training materials that focus on the use of Python in the atmospheric sciences. Larissa's initial level of experience with Python was a good match for the audience developers here wanted to address, so her feedback has been very valuable. As her experience grew, Larissa also assisted with editing the Jupyter notebooks to make them more understanable to novice Python users.
It wasn't all office work, though — Larissa was able to attend two conferences during her internship. The first, “The Science of Data-Driven Storytelling,” was held in Los Angeles on June 16th, 2016. She was awarded the Early Career Research Travel Grant from Computing Community Consortium to attend. The second was SciDataCon, held in Denver, CO, September 18-20, as a part of the annual International Data Week. At SciDataCon, Larissa presented her involvement with the Data Management Resource Center and its ties to Agile Data Curation, her first presentation at a conference.
“Larissa has really made a difference during her time here,” says Unidata Community Services manager Josh Young. “From day one she was eager to jump into any topic, learn what she needed, then make exemplary contributions to the effort. It has been a great pleasure to work with her and witness her growth. I'm sure she has a bright future ahead of her.”
On the value of internships like Larissa's, Unidata Program Center Director Mohan Ramamurthy notes that facilitating literacy in data, computational, and information sciences helps develop the next generation scientific workforce, and is thus an integral part of Unidata's mission. “Providing students like Larissa the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from projects in data science, like the DMRC, is extremely important,” he says.
Larissa is sad to leave Unidata behind, especially because of the connections she made with the entire Unidata staff. This was her first internship after receiving her Undergraduate Degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and she valued the lessons in computer coding and data management, as well as the general office experience. Next, Larissa will be traveling in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific Islands. After returning from her travels, Larissa hopes to find a job using her Ecology or English degree somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
All of us at the Program Center have been glad to have Larissa working with us over the course of her internship, and we wish her continued success in her endeavors!