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A Two-Way Street: Meet Our Students

By Michelle Y. Chang, Natalie Latysh, and Jean Freeney

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Michelle Chang

In May 2012, the Science Data Management (SDM) Branch of CSAS brought on board graduate student Michelle Chang from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Michelle has just completed her master’s degree at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. She is working with the CSAS team to contribute to the CDI-sponsored Data Management Web-based Toolbox and to develop lesson tutorials highlighting best practices throughout the data lifecycle. With a background in plant ecology and field research, Michelle loves the outdoors and is an avid botanist. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys Country Western dancing as well as a variety of arts and crafts.

Photo Credit: Majken Talbot
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James Curry

Early this year, the Applied Earth Systems Informatics Research (AESIR) Branch of CSAS welcomed James Curry, a third year computer science major from MSU Denver. James is working alongside senior developers and researchers, exploring how off-the-shelf commercial or open source products can tap into structured data from USGS systems to build reports or to facilitate analyses users cannot currently perform in those systems. James recently completed a summer project linking the widely-used Google Docs to ScienceBase. His tool enables users to easily retrieve spatial and summary information from ScienceBase and populate it into Google Docs spreadsheets or visualize it on a Web map. While James’s outside interests tend to coincide with his career and include writing code and fixing computers, he also enjoys playing basketball, skiing, hiking, traveling, and indoor gardening.

Photo Credit: Natalie Latysh
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Terri Killeffer

Terri is a graduate student pursuing a master of information science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. As USGS works to contribute to data management best practices throughout the Bureau through the CDI and the Science Data Coordinator Network (SDCN), Terri is putting her experience as a biologist and her newly developing skills in information science to work by serving on SDCN Task Teams and the CDI Data Management Working Group. Some of her support includes aggregating and compiling data, researching information, developing content, and assisting with analysis. Her work contributes to education and information-sharing across the different USGS areas to better provide management, preservation, access, discovery, integration, and delivery of data and information within USGS, to its partners, and to the public. When not working, Terri enjoys dining at ethnic restaurants, visiting with friends, spending time with nature, engaging with her soon-to-be teen son, attending festivals and cultural events, and lounging with her two cats.

Photo Credit: Terri Killeffer
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Ricardo McClees

Ricardo is a senior at George Mason University studying earth science with a concentration in geology. At school, he is the chapter president for an Earth Science National Honor Society and also serves on the College of Science Deans advisory board. Ricardo provides support to several CSAS projects, including Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON). He has been a tester throughout application development and is gearing up to begin working with researchers to enter data into the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Ricardo has also assumed a leadership role in organizing and coordinating biweekly meetings of the CSAS students that include presentations on a wide range of topics about USGS organizations and activities as well as other issues of interest; for instance, career planning and leadership skills. Ricardo is also working with CSAS Assistant Director Mike McDermott to jump start a student volunteer program.

Photo Credit: Bailey Bubach
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Sterling Powers

In 2010, Sterling was welcomed as a student employee to conduct data mining for USGS projects. Sterling is a biology major at Red Rocks Community College and will be transferring to a local university when he has completed his associate of science degree. He is part of the Scientific Data Integration and Visualization (SDIV) Branch in CSAS, working with a diverse group of professionals. Sterling has learned how to use many online and desktop tools such as ScienceBase, Mendeley, Excel, Access, and ArcGIS. Recently, he completed two ESRI geographic information systems courses to further his skills for work in the Vegetation Characterization Program and for other projects involving spatial data. A true Colorado native, Sterling is involved in many outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking. He is also devoted to physical training and enjoys instructing self-defense courses.

Photo Credit: Sarah Stephens
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Adelita Romero

Adelita Romero began her employment with USGS and the CSAS organization in July 2012 as an Office Automation Clerk. Adelita has a bachelor of science degree in healthcare management and is currently working on a Certificate in Social Work at MSU Denver. She supports the SDIV team in CSAS with documentation, user support, and organization of tasks and work products. Some of the projects she has worked on are the CSAS Denver office moves; myUSGS user support; Security documentation; excessing surplus equipment and furniture; and software inventory. Adelita’s interests outside of work and school include traveling, spending quality time with her children, and volunteering.

Photo Credit: Kenneth Garcia
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Jessica Shaddy

Jessica is a 4th-year biology major at George Mason University. She has worked as an intern with the USGS for a little over a year. Jessica has been supporting the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP), including partner coordination, contributing to the development of work flows, and coordinating data ingestion and metadata creation activities. CSAS has a key role in implementation of NFHAP, co-chairing the Science and Data Committee. Jessica is also working on a project for the Global Biodiversity Information Facility’s U.S. Mirror, researching U.S. data providers.

Photo Credit: Ricardo McClees
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Sarah Stephens

CSAS welcomed Sarah E. Stephens into the organization in April 2012 to assist the Administrative staff with support related to travel, time, and attendance as well as many other miscellaneous activities that pop up in the organization’s day-to-day operations. Sarah is in her second year at the Community College of Denver, working on a business administration degree. She is a valued member of the CSAS Team and supports a large variety of mission activities, including CDI. Sarah is also an avid baseball fan and enjoys working out as well as getting a good bargain when shopping.

Photo Credit: Grace Dominguez