People of SGCI: Eroma Abeysinghe
Principal Business Analyst, Science Gateways Research Center
What is your role within SGCI and what do you do?
I am part of the Extended Developer Support (EDS) service area of SGCI. My main responsibility within EDS is to provide consultation to campus groups who are in need of a science gateway to make their research work easy for them and for their community. I am currently providing consultation services to two projects and another one is in the pipeline. In a typical consultation, I have discussions with the client to identify their requirements and then provide them with a gateway which meets the requirements. My responsibilities range from gathering gateway requirements, deploying and configuring the gateway, proposing design changes, proposing new features to the software, providing user documentation in the form of tutorials, and assisting with getting familiarized with the gateway. It’s a collaborative process, and working closely with the client ensures the success of their project.
How did you come to be a part of SGCI, and why were you intrigued by the opportunity?
The director of the Science Gateways Research Center (SGRC) at Indiana University (IU), Marlon Pierce (my boss), was part of SGCI from the beginning and it was through him that I got to know what it’s about and what it will stand for. The first thing that came to my mind was how powerful and motivating it would be to have an actual institute to assist and provide services for science communities in need around the country and also how this would help all the brilliant minds to come together and work towards a common goal. I saw a great growth and future for the institute and wanted to be a part of it right away. Since I like providing consultation support in the form of gathering requirements and analyzing and providing near perfect solutions, I found myself and our team perfect to work with science groups who are in need of science gateways.
What is the most challenging part of your work for SGCI?
So far, I don’t believe I have come across an actual ‘mind-blowing’ challenge, but I find working together with the project client to achieve the project goals within a predefined time period is kind of challenging. Not to forget staying focused with the project milestones and having them well communicated and understood by all parties involved during the project period.
How else are you involved in the technology or gateway community?
Apart from working as a consultant for EDS projects within SGRC, I play multiple roles at IU. Within our Airavata middleware project, I play the roles of business analyst and quality assurance engineer. My responsibilities include testing and ensuring the quality, working with the implementation team, and ensuring the requirements are understood and implemented as per project roadmaps. I also take the responsibility of keeping pertinent documentation about installation, new features, etc. updated.
What do you most like to do in your free time?
Free time is kind of a luxury to me but if I get any I would like to spend it traveling with my family or just spending time with my daughter. Traveling to different countries and visiting prehistoric places and learning all the facts and stories around them, visiting places with natural beauty, and getting closer to different traditions and lifestyles would be ideal to allocate my free time.
If we’re not traveling I would just like to spend time with my family and, in particular, spend time with my daughter and fall in love with her again and again, enjoying every time she says or does something totally new for her age. Time with her feels like therapy and offers a whole new perspective to life through a young and fresh mind!
If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?
I would have the superpower to make people around me (including myself) to be totally honest with what they communicate. I believe communication is very important and can do wonders if done honestly. Honest communication will iron out any doubts, will save time and effort, and we would know, as people, what is expected from us and how we need to execute things and then know that, in the end, we will get honest feedback. I feel this would result in our continuous improvement and evolution.