Alexis Garretson Candidate Statement

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Candidate Statement for position of Data Stewardship Committee Chair

I became involved with ESIP in 2018, when I served as an ESIP Community Fellow for the Data Stewardship and Research Object Citation Clusters. It was then that I attended my first ESIP meetings, and presented a research poster. During this fellowship year, I was part of preparing the Data Risk Matrix for publication alongside other members of the cluster. I continued to grow my involvement over the next year, when I continued as a Community Fellow with Data Stewardship. I was awarded a FUNding Friday student award to begin working on a tool to track the provenance and research usage of biodiversity observations submitted by citizen/community scientists across various platforms (e.g., iNaturalist, eBird, Anecdata). Following my terms as a Community Fellow, I have remained an active member of the Data Stewardship Committee and have intermittently served as Co-Chair.

Beyond my leadership positions at ESIP, I maintain leadership activities in a variety of other settings. I am a full time PhD student at the Jackson Laboratory, where I am actively involved in student leadership, particularly through teaching foundational coding and data science courses through our involvement in The Carpentries. I have mentored multiple students, and taught the intro coding course for our summer undergraduate students in 2022. Additionally, I am a founding leader of the computational club at our university, where we host open Q&A and open coding sessions on a regular basis, host networking and career development events, and host workshops. In addition to my graduate involvement, I hold a part time position as a data manager with Anecdata, where I have preparing our community-contributed data for ingestion into GBIF and am working with our scientific partners to improve our data management tools and cyberinfrastructure for communities. I am also a Research Associate with Mohonk Preserve, a small conservation research institution and land trust with a large number of historical archival holdings. I began working with Mohonk as an Environmental Data Initiative summer fellow in 2019, where I learned about structured metadata and environmental data management, but have continued publishing data holdings ever since. Across these positions, I have provided more than 250,000 records to GBIF that have been used in more than 80 scientific outputs. Finally, I have volunteered with multiple citizen and community science projects, including as a curator with iNaturalist, a scribe with Bionomia, and was a AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange Community Science Fellow supporting community science projects focused on the California coast. I maintain a volunteer association with GBIF as a Biodiversity Data Ambassador, with National Microbiome Data Collaborative as a champion, and as a Data and Software Carpentry Instructor with The Carpentries.

I am involved with ESIP because of the amazing opportunities to connect with other Earth Science Data professionals and practitioners, and because I deeply value the work of the partners and staff to improve the landscape of earth science information management. At each stage of my research, I focus on mobilizing data that might otherwise be discarded or that was collected for alternative purposes but can find a new life through reuse and synthesis. However, this focus of my work would not have been possible without the invaluable direction, support, and mentoring I received from so many members of ESIP.  I hope to continue supporting the work of the Data Stewardship Committee through organizing regular meetings and through providing logistical support to our ongoing  activities, but I also see this opportunity to serve in the Data Stewardship Committee as a chance to give back to the community that has supported me so much over the past few years.

Candidate Bio

Alexis Garretson is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and ACM Special Interest Group on High-Performance Computing Computational and Data Science Fellow at Tufts University and The Jackson Laboratory joint program in Mammalian Genetics. Her research focuses on improving the accessibility and integration of historical data sources and ensuring sustainable stewardship of scientific data at small research institutions. As a research associate and former Environmental Data Initiative Fellow with the Mohonk Preserve, she supported the stewardship and maintenance of long-term ecological monitoring projects in New York State to understand climate change impacts. She served as the Data Stewardship Community Fellow for the Earth Science Information Partners for two years. She advocates for open data through her work with Anecdata and as Open Biodiversity Data Ambassador with the Global Biodiversity Information Facilities. She has also been involved in bioinformatics and data science education as an instructor with The Carpentries and through developing university data science curriculum.