Hello Region 5!
My name is Maria Arteaga Cuevas and I will be your NNLM Region 5 guest blogger this week for DataFlash. A little bit about myself is that I am a first generation graduate student, and I am about to begin my second year of the online MLIS program at the University of Washington.
This summer, I participated in the NCDS data internship program. I first heard about the program when I was just wrapping up the second quarter of my first year in the MLIS program. There was an upcoming opportunity to attend an information session for a paid internship that would allow me to work with data. I made sure to be at the session to learn more about the internship and what it would mean for me as a potential intern. After the info-session, I left the Zoom eager to apply as soon as possible because my learning and professional goals aligned perfectly with the goals the program listed for the potential interns. In sum, these were my goals: to get hands-on beginner friendly training, have opportunities for personal and professional development, and have the help and resources necessary to guide me in achieving my goals.
Spoiler alert! All of my goals were reached and more! During the 10-week internship, my fellow interns and I were split up into groups according to our pre-selected projects. I was to work with the Data Curation Network on a data curation project titled “Create a data curation primer template for faculty/researcher audiences, and learn GitHub!” I had the amazing opportunity to work with DCN director Mikala Narlock and ARL project manager, Shawna Taylor, as my project leads. Throughout my project planning and learning process I had lots of support from my mentors Scout Calvert, Wind Cowles, and Jen Darragh. Being able to talk to my mentors and meet up with them was one of my favorite parts of this internship experience because I didn’t feel alone in the process and learned a great deal from them about data curation and the data science field.
About my project: The DCN has several curation primers that serve as a reference to curators while they are going through their data curation process. Since my project entailed creating a primer template it was meant to be more like an outline for a primer. The information that I needed for my primer template was already written in other primers, so my goal was to rework what was already known for data curators to accommodate a researcher or faculty audience. The objective of my primer template was to provide a resource for academic researchers to reference when project planning and throughout the research lifecycle. I used the research lifecycle as a guide to create the template, but building the template proved much more in depth and challenging than I thought it might be. I relied on my mentors for lots of feedback, suggestions, and overall support. By the end of my term as an intern I was feeling like I learned so much! At this point, my project is still in progress because it has to go through a DCN peer review process. After revisions, the goal is to upload it to the DCN GitHub. For now though, it lives in my own GitHub repository.
Even though the NCDS internship has concluded, I still feel like I am a part of the community we built. Not only do I leave with meaningful professional relationships, I also feel like I have a new wealth of knowledge about a field I was barely familiar with before. One of the parts of the internship I will carry with me is the many workshops we had. We had at least one workshop a week and they were all about important skills and tools that I can definitely see myself using in the future (like the publishing and peer review process, resume and interview practice, Python, Git, and GitHub). To any iSchool students considering being a part of the next cohort, I highly recommend that you attend the information session and apply as soon as the applications go out! The whole experience was more than I could have expected, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of the first cohort of the NCDS internship. Thank you to everyone from the National Center for Data Services and the Data Curation Network for being our educators, mentors, and support system.