By Raniere Silva, Community Officer
On 15th September 2017, we ran the Fellowship Programme 2018 Launch Webinar—an opportunity for those interested in our Fellowship Programme to ask their questions and have a immediate answer. This time, we had the opportunity to listen to Nikoleta Glynatsi, Gary Leeming, David Perez-Suarez, Iza A. Romanowska and Melody Sandells talking about their experience as Institute Fellows. Below you will find highlights of each one of the presentations.
She defined the Fellowship as nothing less than "life changing" and "the best thing she’s ever done". Melody encouraged people to apply even if the term "sustainable software" is a bit alien for them because this was her case before applying. As she said, after reading a few pages on the website you might discover that some of the things that you already care about fall under the Institute’s "sustainable software" umbrella. Melody also described the Collaborations Workshop and other Fellows meetings, e.g., the Inaugural Meeting, as inspiring and "a great place to generate ideas", partly due to the diverse environment that normally includes researchers, research software engineers and funders. Sometimes, the ideas generated during the events bound long-term collaborations.
Gary particularly enjoyed the application process and the opportunity to meet people. He described his fellow Fellows as a diverse group who is very active and capable of promoting great discussions; in other words, a "win community". He also praised the Collaborations Workshop as a "challenge for your own thoughts". In some of our events, we host speed blog sessions which, in Gary's words, "were fun".
Iza A. Romanowska
She said that your initial thought can be thinking of ourselves as frauds and not wanting to apply for the Institute's "secret society". You should push this impostor syndrome aside and apply. Iza praised the Institute for being very inclusive and recommended to ask stupid questions—questions can never be stupid—to the Institute or fellow Fellows. She said it "was eye opening to see people doing things different" during the Collaborations Workshop and other events promote by the Institute. Iza concluded by saying that the Fellowship is an investment of time well spent.
She started saying that "her field, as most other, suffer from a lack software sustainability practices". During some of her recent trips, e.g., to PyCon Namibia 2017 and EuroSciPy 2017, Nikoleta noticed that people suffer because some published works aren't reproducible and she thinks that we can help each other to solve this issue. The Collaborations Workshop didn't sound like a commitment for Nikoleta. She said that one of her motivations for applying to the Fellowship Programme was to be part of a community who is welcoming, active and open to share their stories and wisdom. She’s made good friends as a Fellow and is looking to make new ones during PyCon UK 2017 and Collaborations Workshop 2018—both will take place in Cardiff.
A while back, David mentioned that he was interested in software/tools that enable or facilitate collaboration. At some point he blogged a list "of collaborative tools [he's] used or heard of" which, fast forwarding a little, helped him with a new job and the Fellowship. From experience, he believes that the requirement imposed by the Institute for Fellows to blog about their activities has a positive impact in the long run. During his inaugural year, among other things, David organised an unconference named Science Together, focused on software/tools that researchers use to collaborate and the barrier they have to adopt different tools. The unconference was attended by people with different backgrounds and had rich discussions.
The common denominator among Nikoleta Glynatsi, Gary Leeming, David Perez-Suarez, Iza A. Romanowska and Melody Sandells is that they’ve all had a great time being a Fellow, believe that Collaborations Workshop is worth attending and see the fellowship as a life-changing kind of programme. So, don't lose this opportunity and apply before the deadline on 9th October 2017. You can find out more details about the Fellowship Programme here and questions should be send to email@example.com.