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People of SGCI: Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood

Education Program Manager
Elizabeth City State University

What is your role within SGCI and what do you do?

I currently work within Workforce Development in support of Dr. Linda Hayden. This assistance takes the form of leading students through various application training workshops and documenting the training, conferences, and events throughout their time here at ECSU. I have led numerous research teams in a variety of topics ranging from interactive databases to implementation of social media applications for research. My main task is to support Workforce Development in web development and print materials for both documentation and promotion of SGCI programs. 

How did you come to be a part of SGCI, and why were you intrigued by the opportunity?

The director of the center here at Elizabeth City State University, Dr. Linda Hayden, has been instrumental in providing quality research experiences for students. When she joined with the university’s implementation of the Science Gateways Community Institute I quickly realized that it would be another excellent tool to assist students in their endeavors to excel in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Mentoring the next generation of science gateway users and developers will be a fulfilling part of my time with Workforce Development.

What is the most challenging part of your work for SGCI?

Coming from a small university, working with a large group of talented individuals and keeping up to their pace is a great new challenge for me. I have worked with other groups, but the SGCI staff and developers are intensely focused on success for all who are implementing Science Gateways. The emphasis on the continuing growth of new developers is a great task to take on and will make my time with this project even more interesting.

How else are you involved in the technology or gateway community?

During my time here I have mentored numerous research projects ranging from multimedia and social media implementation to developing databases for gateway projects using HUBzero. Database development and web-based interaction are constantly increasing in capability and complexity.

I have attended some conferences that have given me further exposure to this community. There are some, in particular, that made a lasting impression on me.  At TeraGrid’10, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I presented my research titled “Utilizing a Social Networking Site as a Web Portal to Process CReSIS Radar Data" during the Gateway Track. There I interacted with communities utilizing cyberinfrastructure and learned their strategies, and also heard educators share their methods to prepare the next generation of computational scientists.

Another inspiring conference was the 2nd International Conference on Cloud Computing, Technology, and Science (CloudCom2010), which was held  November 30 – December 3, 2010, at Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana. This conference had many events ranging from conferences and panels from researchers to interactive workshops and tutorials sponsored by trade leaders. A great amount of sharing also took place during oral and poster presentations. Presenters from around the globe brought their research to the conference to share and discuss with other professionals from the field.

This experience gave me the chance to hear from world leaders in cloud computing discussing not only their work in programming and architecture but also how the culture is changing toward cloud computing and the services it currently provides. Tried technologies in the industry such as Azure and Hadoop were presented, as well as scientific approaches to cloud computing such as the Indiana University FutureGrid project allowing researchers to place their work onto a high-level computing environment without investing in the software and hardware to complete short-lived projects.

What do you most like to do in your free time?

I enjoy being on the water fishing or pulling the kids on their tubes. A lot of time is spent with grandchildren and enjoying their early years. Gardening and taking care of yard work keeps me sane in this technology time-hungry world!

If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?

Wisdom. I would desire wisdom to make the right choices for myself, my family, and my work. Not intelligence, which can be gained by hard work, but true wisdom to make choices that build people up and encourage them to move on to better things. Some call it “common sense,” but I feel it goes much farther than that.