This month we spoke with Dr. Kari L Jordan, the Director of Assessment and Community Equity at The Carpentries. The Carpentries is a community of “instructors, trainers, maintainers, helpers, and supporters who share a mission to teach foundational computational and data science skills to researchers.” Before her current position, Dr. Jordan conducted research as a postdoc at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and later served as a Program Manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Ohio State University. She reported that both these roles helped her “learn about evidence-based instructional design and how to develop programs to support learning communities.” In addition, she credits her engineering background and PhD from the Ohio State University in helping her develop the critical thinking skills necessary for her work with The Carpentries.
Dr. Jordan uses her critical thinking at The Carpentries to advocate for individuals in the ecological sciences who “need the skills and resources to be successful, whether they are technical skills or soft skills.” In her current position, Dr. Jordan spends much of her time generating reports written in R, a programming language used for statistical computing and graphics. This required her to learn how to code – a valuable skill, and one she never thought she’d need before joining The Carpentries team. She also spends time training instructors and organizing community development projects. Among such a wide array of responsibilities, Dr. Jordan tells us, “the most rewarding part of my job is when I am able to see people grow through our mentoring or instructor training program. I love seeing the light bulb flash.”
As with any job in or out of STEM fields, there may be positive and negative attributes. Dr. Jordan reports that the one problem she infrequently notices is that more meetings mean more work! Of course, that also means more opportunities for Dr. Jordan to help those who need it. Dr. Jordan still reserves time for leisurely activities. “Most of my free time is spent practicing or teaching Zumba,” Dr. Jordan shared. Not only is she a STEM professional, but also a Zumba fitness instructor. Her other hobbies include singing for her church and spending time with her husband. Talk about #WorkLifeBalanceGoals!